Jointly with other groups, the team of WANG Jinyoung investigated the in vivo reprogramming of functional T cells, as a new method to generate a large number of naive T cells which, after antigen stimulation, can generate long-term acquired immune memory. Screening of 15 candidate transcription factors led to the identification of Hoxb5 factor, which reprograms B cells to T cells in the body. This reprogramming process produces bone-like early T lymphoid progenitor cells (BM-ETP) two weeks after injection into the bone marrow, and regenerative early T lymphoid progenitor cells (Thy-ETP) appear in the thymus in the third week. From the fourth week after transplantation, the thymus begins to export a large number of functional T cells. This method reconstructs 50-80% of the immune output of the thymus. A two-year follow-up study on mice that had been reprogrammed to re-establish the T-immune system in vivo found no evidence of tumorigenic safety risks.
China Bio news release, February 13, 2018