Immune organoids and combinations to advance our understanding of autoimmunity, vaccination and infection.

In person only

It is very likely that the human immune system is much more complex than that of inbred mice. Continuous infectious disease exposure and the need to live much longer with limited fecundity all suggest a much more capable immune system is needed to allow the species to survive. But if there are novel immune mechanisms in human beings our ability to characterize them is very limited in living human beings and so we have used discarded immune tissues, principally tonsils and spleens, to create broadly functional human immune organoids. These organoids can respond to vaccines with specific T and B cells, and show innate stimulation. They are also susceptible to genetic manipulation using CRISPR based methods. We can combine them with skin or lung organoids in order to recreate some of the classical interactions important in graft rejection or infectious disease responses. While still in the early days, this approach holds considerable promise to discover and explore human specific immune responses while also having the advantage of an in vitro system.