A major obstacle to stem cell based therapies is the immune response of the patient to stem cell derived tissue, which can be recognized as foreign and attacked by the patient’s immune system. Humanized mouse models have considerable potential as test beds for exploring different therapeutic approaches, because they allow for human cells to be observed and manipulated experimentally. This proposal takes
advantage of the most recent innovations in microscopic imaging to probe the interactions between developing T cells and their support cells in living 3D tissues, and thus inform therapeutic strategies to promote the acceptance of stem cell grafts.
In the first year of funding we have examined human T cell development in living thymus tissue, and have begun characterization of T cell development in humanized mice in which human thymocytes develop with mouse support cells.