Earlier this year, we hosted the Ending Age-Related Diseases 2018 conference at the Cooper Union, New York City. This was a conference designed to bring together the best in the aging research and biotech investment worlds and saw a range of industry experts sharing their insights.
As the human body ages, the thymus begins to shrink, and fewer numbers of T cells are created and trained to fight. The thymus tissue also turns to fat rather than healthy immune cell-producing thymic tissue. Eventually, the thymus wastes away, becoming a useless fatty organ that no longer produces immune cells.
This structural decay of the thymus and the failure of the immune system when we are old opens us up to multiple age-related diseases, particularly cancer, along with infectious diseases, such as pneumonia and flu.
Intervene Immune is a company focused on the age-related decline of the immune system, which is known as immunosenescence. Here, Bobby Brooke, CEO of Intervene Immune, discusses the clinical potential of regenerating the thymus as a means of reversing age-related immune system decline.
His co-founder at Intervene Immune, Dr. Greg Fahy, has been working on the rejuvenation of the thymus for a number of years, and, in 2015, he conducted a small-scale human trial to see if the earlier results in animals would translate to people. His approach focuses on the use of human growth hormone (HGH) and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) to regenerate the thymus.
The initial study results showed that there was a substantial increase in the density of the thymus, suggesting that the fatty tissue found in the aged thymus was being replaced with denser, water-rich, immune cell-producing tissue. In previous studies on human immunodeficiency patients, this tissue replacement was correlated with improved thymic function.
You can read about the work of Dr. Fahy in an interview we did with him last year, and we are going to be doing a follow-up interview with Intervene Immune in March 2019 once its data is published and we can see how successful its larger thymus rejuvenation study has been.