Thymus Regeneration and Future Challenges

Stem Cell Rev. 2020, 16 (2), 239-250

DOI: 10.1007/s12015-020-09955-y

Shichkin V.; Antica M.

Thymus regenerative therapy implementation is severely obstructed by the limited number and expansion capacity in vitro of tissue-specific thymic epithelial stem cells (TESC). Current solutions are mostly based on growth factors that can drive differentiation of pluripotent stem cells toward tissue-specific TESC. Target-specific small chemical compounds represent an alternative solution that could induce and support the clonal expansion of TESC and reversibly block their differentiation into mature cells. These compounds could be used both in the composition of culture media designed for TESC expansion in vitro, and in drugs development for thymic regeneration in vivo. It should allow reaching the ultimate objective - autologous thymic tissue regeneration in paediatric patients who had their thymus removed in the course of cardiac surgery.