Now create a spare copy of your immune system


New York : An Anglo-American firm claims to have the ability to create a spare copy of a person's immune system that one can use in case one's immune system is destroyed by HIV or cancer therapy.

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Lifeforce, a firm at Newport in Britain, has received permission from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to begin collecting 480 ml samples of blood from healthy individuals. It extracts the white blood cells and stores them for use against future diseases.

By taking some of the stored cells, the company claimed "whole new armies" of white blood cells could be grown in the lab and re-infused into the patient, reported the online edition of the New Scientist.

The service comes at a price: around $800 for taking the initial sample, then $25 per month for storing the cells at -196 °C.

"That sample would have the complete repertoire of all your white blood cells," said the company's co-founder, Del DelaRonde.

Many people with cancer undergo similar "adoptive" therapies using immune cells extracted before they have chemotherapy or radiotherapy, which can destroy immune cells.

But there is a risk that the cells won't work optimally because of previous cancer damage, DelaRonde noted. "Instead, we can send them their 'pristine' system from 25 years ago."

In the case of HIV, which progressively destroys immune cells, the process could be repeated perhaps once a year, by multiplying and re-storing fractions of the samples.