Mimicking Memory Cell Activation | BioStem Life Sciences

July 25, 2020

The research and development of drugs are always difficult and research involving mimicking memory cell activation presents unique challenges. This highly specialized field of immunotherapy aims to work with the natural immune response to fight pathogenic invasions.

The Importance of Memory Cells

Immunological memory cells consist of T and B lymphocytes and Natural Killer (NK) cells. These cells are what provide immunity to previously beaten diseases by reacting to foreign “remembered” antigens. They are the aggravators of autoimmune diseases and play roles in providing immunological tolerance.

The adaptive immune response made possible by memory cells makes vaccines efficaciousand additional functions of the body’s natural immune system will likely continue to make medical advances in disease prevention and treatment possible.

Memory cells can also have a negative impact on health as they are linked to autoimmune diseases. By the process of molecular mimicry, self-antigens have similar structures to foreign antigens, causing a response that attacks the body’s cells as well as foreign pathogens. 

How Memory Cells Produce an Immune Response

B cells make antibodies to engulf and destroy the pathogen when first exposed to it. Memory B cells are able to quickly make large numbers of antibodies upon second exposure to the same pathogen, thanks to their ability to remember the antigen of that pathogen.During antigen presentation, helper T cells recognize the protein antigens on the surface of pathogens and cell responses are stimulated when the antigen interacts with the T cell receptors. This form of cell activation results in helper T cells activating B cells to produce antibodies, NK cells to attack pathogens, or macrophages to destroy foreign agentWhen NK cells respond to viruses or haptens, they generate antigen-specific memory cells that are used to respond to the pathogen in the future.

During antigen presentation, helper T cells recognize the protein antigens on the surface of pathogens and cell responses are stimulated when the antigen interacts with the T cell receptors. This form of cell activation results in helper T cells activating B cells to produce antibodies, NK cells to attack pathogens, or macrophages to destroy foreign agents.

When NK cells respond to viruses or haptens, they generate antigen-specific memory cells that are used to respond to the pathogen in the future.

Antigen-Specific Immunotherapy

Researchers don’t yet fully understand memory cells, but the connection between memory cells and disease regulation and causes has prompted continuing research. 

Helper T cells are integral to cell-mediated immune responses as they conduct the processes of other immune cells. Autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis and lupus, are characterized by helper T cells that don’t recognize the body’s proteins and direct the immune system to attack these cells as if they were foreign pathogens. 

Antigen-specific immunotherapies aim to change the function of helper T cells to regulatory agents rather than suppress the immune system as many contemporary autoimmune treatments do. 

Contemporary Immune Therapies

Immunotherapy tumor treatment methods aim to control rapid cell proliferation and sometimes involve in vitro cell development or creating T cell clones to promote adaptive immune responses.5 This works best when cloned cells undergo cell differentiation that results in a large number of cells with minimally differentiated phenotypes that can eradicate the entire tumor.

Immunotherapies that have shown promise with some patients are ineffective in others; more studies surrounding gene expression in the various cases may offer insight into what allows or denies treatment efficacy.

Manufacturing Immune Therapies

Drugs designed for mimicking memory cell activation require careful process development that extends from the research phase to the full-scale manufacture of regulation-compliant, marketable drugs.

Therapies for clinical trials and those ready for the market are carefully filled using aseptic fill and finish techniques. Pharmaceutical companies work with contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMO) to develop and manufacture safer and more effective drugs to combat some of the most debilitating diseases. 


Final Thoughts

BioStem Life Sciences is an integrated biopharmaceutical company that focuses on developing and manufacturing perinatal tissue-based products. Contact us today for more information about our scientific team, laboratory, or process development services. 

(1) Ratajczak, Weronika et al. “Immunological memory cells.” Central-European journal of immunology vol. 43,2 (2018): 194-203. doi:10.5114/ceji.2018.77390

(2)Ratajczak, Weronika et al. “Immunological memory cells.” Central-European journal of immunology vol. 43,2 (2018): 194-203. doi:10.5114/ceji.2018.77390

(3) Smith-Garvin, Jennifer E et al. “T cell activation.” Annual review of immunology vol. 27 (2009): 591-619. doi:10.1146/annurev.immunol.021908.132706

(4)Janeway CA Jr, Travers P, Walport M, et al. Immunobiology: The Immune System in Health and Disease. 5th edition. New York: Garland Science; 2001. Immunological memory. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK27158
(5) Ho, William Y et al. “In vitro methods for generating CD8+ T-cell clones for immunotherapy from the naïve repertoire.” Journal of immunological methods vol. 310,1-2 (2006): 40-52. doi:10.1016/j.jim.2005.11.023

(6) Crompton, Joseph G et al. “Uncoupling T-cell expansion from effector differentiation in cell-based immunotherapy.” Immunological reviews vol. 257,1 (2014): 264-276. doi:10.1111/imr.12135

(7) Gaffney, Stephen G et al. “The landscape of novel and complementary targets for immunotherapy: an analysis of gene expression in the tumor microenvironment.” Oncotarget vol. 10,44 4532-4545. 16 Jul. 2019, doi:10.18632/oncotarget.27027

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