Supplementing age-diminished bone marrow is known to extend lifespan in rodents. Translation to humans, however, has been precluded by immune rejection of allogeneic grafts while the alternative approach of cultured autologous bone marrow cell therapy is infeasible at scale.
Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are a self-renewing adult stem cells that gives rise to all forms of bone marrow cells, and thus immune and blood cells, within the body. Over time, aging of HSCs and their environmental niche leads to a loss of function in the blood, particularly the immune system. The age-weakened immune system is less able to perform cancer immunosurveillance, eliminate biochemical waste molecules and plaques, and respond to vaccines and pathogenic threats.
Under a contract research agreement with Ichor Therapeutics, Ship of Theseus will conduct a series of projects examining the effects of HSC treatment on aging, including a large lifespan study. This work will inform future efforts by Ship of Theseus to develop stem cell therapies that restore blood to youthful function.