One of the many things that can be accomplished today, but largely isn't due to regulation, is infusion of a large number of immune cells grown from a patient's own cells. Existing immune cells - or even skin cells - can be reprogrammed to form induced pluripotent stem cells, which can then be then expanded in number and redifferentiated into the hunter killer cells that rove the body in search of things to destroy.
So why not look ahead to a range of treatments that involve temporarily endowing a person with twice as many immune cells as he or she normally possesses? Or five times as many, or ten times as many, or more? There may well be a why not, at least one that lies beyond the concern shared with all stem cell treatments, which is controlling these cells well enough to avoid the risk of pluripotent cells slipping through and generating some form of cancer. That why not hasn't surfaced yet, however, and the fastest way to see whether or not it exists is more research, more clinical trials, and more responsible medical tourism.
The potential benefits are enormous, and much of the caution forced upon research and development in the US and Europe is both unnecessary and in place for reasons that have little to do with ensuring good outcomes.
In any case, researchers here demonstrate some of the basic methodologies needed to give someone a temporarily superhuman immune system:
The techniques the groups employed involved using known factors to revert mature immune T cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which can differentiate into virtually any of the body's different cell types. The researchers then expanded these iPSCs and later coaxed them to redifferentiate back into T cells. Importantly, the newly made T cells were "rejuvenated" with increased growth potential and lifespan, while retaining their original ability to target cancer and HIV-infected cells. These findings suggest that manipulating T cells using iPSC techniques could be useful for future development of more effective immune therapies.
In one study, investigators used T cells from an HIV-infected patient. The redifferentiated cells they generated had an unlimited lifespan and contained long telomeres, or caps, on the ends of their chromosomes, which protect cells from aging. This is significant because normal aging of T cells limits their expansion, making them inefficient as therapies. "The system we established provides 'young and active' T cells for adoptive immunotherapy against viral infection or cancers."
It is worth noting that this isn't the first time researchers have shown that reprogramming cells to become pluripotent and then recreating their original lineage from those pluripotent cells has the effect of rejuvenating aspects of their biology. You might recall that researchers demonstrated mitochondrial rejuvenation via this methodology a few years back.