Rebooting the Immune System

A release via Medical News Today looks at a drug-based approach to clearing out problems in an aging or otherwise errant immune system: "Revimmune works by temporarily eliminating peripheral immune cells, including the immune cells causing the autoimmunity, while selectively sparing the stem cells in the bone marrow. Investigators at Hopkins discovered that stem cells uniquely have high levels of a particular protective enzyme that can be measured in advance of therapy, which makes them impervious to Revimmune, and allows the surviving stem cells to give rise to the new immune system over 2 to 3 weeks. The newly reconstituted peripheral immune system typically lacks the misdirected immunity to self-antigens, which is characteristic of autoimmune diseases. ... Based on follow-up of up to 2 years, most people have a substantial improvement and many have a complete elimination of disease activity." Would this help with aspects of immune system aging, such as the diminished pool of naive T cells? Or would it cause more harm than good by forcing further, excessive wear and tear on the stem cells responsible for regenerating the immune system? We will no doubt hear more of this class of therapy in the years ahead.