Register for an account


Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.


Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.


Artificial Immune Tissues Produce Antibodies

B cell-producing synthetic tissue is more efficient, could replace animal research.

By Linda MarsaNovember 30, 2015 6:00 AM
Both natural B cells (brown spots at left) and synthetic immune tissue (top right) produce antibodies. B cell activity is visible in green in the synthetic tissue (bottom right). | Singh Lab/Cornell University (3)


Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

In a first, engineers have invented artificial immune tissues that can produce antibodies. Made from gelatin-based biomaterials and seeded with living cells, the synthetic organoid mimics lymph nodes and stimulates B cells, according to a June study in Biomaterials. B cells swing into action when the body is under attack, generating antibodies and fine-tuning them to fight specific infections.

The immune organoid is up to 10 times more efficient than the current method of culturing cells in a petri dish. The potential applications for this platform, which could eventually eliminate the need to do immune system animal research, include tracking how blood cancers develop when B cells go haywire and devising new therapies to attack other cancers. The organoid could also help researchers design vaccines by exposing the B cells to viruses that cause HIV, Ebola and other infectious diseases, and coaxing them to generate targeted antibodies.

[This article originally appeared in print as "B Cell Breakthrough."]

3 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 50%


Already a subscriber? Register or Log In