T cells can be programmed to help damaged hearts. Normally, an injury to the heart, such as a heart attack, activates a subclass of cells known as cardiac fibroblasts, which deposit additional extracellular matrix proteins, resulting in fibrosis, which worsens heart function and signals to cardiomyocytes, negatively impacting their function.
A group of scientists in the United States and Germany engineered T cells that identify the pathological fibroblast using a protein unique to the latter cells. They show in mice that, following heart injury, the engineered T cells are able to eliminate the fibroblasts that have gone awry in the heart and improve cardiac function.
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Stower, H. Immunotherapy for heart injury. Nat Med 25, 1799 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-019-0688-8
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