Article: “This stem cell startup is designing a therapy to restore and boost immunity”

Author: Ryan Cross

Newspaper: Boston Globe March 1, 2023, 12:01 a.m.

Click here for the link to the article

Key quotes: 

“(Dr.) Wang wants to use his company’s thymus cells as a therapy that helps people getting bone marrow or organ transplants recover more quickly and trains their immune systems to not reject the transplant. He also has plans to develop engineered thymus cells that can quell autoimmune diseases by retraining haywire immune cells to stand down and stop attacking the body.”

“In 2010, Audrey Parent, a postdoctoral researcher working with UCSF professors Matthias Hebrok and Mark Anderson, was trying to figure out how to make thymus cells in the lab for the first time.”

“Their results, published in 2013, used human embryonic stem cells to make thymus cells that were transplanted into mice that lacked a thymus. Crucially, the implants allowed the mice to make their own T cells. Thymmune has licensed patents from UCSF, and like many new startups in the stem cell field, it is forgoing difficult-to-source and ethically fraught embryonic stem cells in favor of induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPSCs, which can be made from adult skin cells.”


This article showcases the work of Thymmune, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based startup, and their exciting new approach to restoring thymus function for a wide range of patient groups including individuals born without a thymus, individuals whose immune systems have been weakened by cancer treatments or the aging process, and individuals with autoimmune diseases.  The company’s approach builds on the work of APS researchers, Mark Anderson, and Audrey Parent.  In case you missed it, last month’s Dave’s Research Corner featured a Radiolab podcast that dovetails nicely with this article offering a thorough and interesting explanation of thymus transplant research.

For further reading:

>> Check out Thymmune’s website

>> For more on Dr. Stan Wang, founder and CEO of Thymmune, includes Dr. Wang’s TEDx talk on the creation of use of pluripotent stem cells to restore thymus function, click here.

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