Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Rewriting Life

Artificial Thymus

Laboratory production of T cells-immune cells that grow naturally in the thymus gland-could provide new therapies against cancer, autoimmune disorders and organ transplant rejection. But they’re hard to grow in culture dishes; current methods yield too few cells of too little variety. Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and the Woburn, MA, biotechnology firm Cell Science Therapeutics have developed an artificial thymus that solves both problems. Constructed from a porous metal-and-carbon material typically used for bone repair and arranged in a three-dimensional matrix, the structure mimics the functions of a living-tissue thymus, generating a bumper crop of T cells that can adjust to new threats. Clinical trials start in 2002, with commercial availability expected a few years later. -M. Wortman

More from Rewriting Life

Reprogramming our bodies to make us healthier.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Basic.
  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Print Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.