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April 07, 2021 3 min read

In 2017, CAR T-cell therapy was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for adults with advanced lymphomas. Although there is still much to learn about how T-cell therapies can help a variety of problems, the studies have accelerated.

T-cells are one of the types of cells in the body, but what do T-cells do? How can they help you?

Read on to learn everything you need to know about these cells.

What Are T-Cells?

There are two primary types of lymphocytes in the body and one of them is called T-cells. These are white blood cells found in lymph tissue and blood.

Of all the white blood cells in the body, 25% of them are lymphocytes. Out of those lymphocytes, 80% of them are T-cells. Every T-cell has its own nucleus.

Bone marrow, the fatty tissue within bones, is where T-cells come from. From the bone marrow, they make their way to the thymus. This is a gland in the neck where T-cells mature and change.

As T-cells mature, they turn into either CD8+ T-cells or CD4+ T-cells.

CD4+ T-cells work as a helper to activate B cells and destroy microbes. These cells also activate CD8+ T-cells known as killer cells. A killer cell will recruit other cells to help kill cancerous and virus-infected cells within the body.

What Do T-Cells Do?

T-cells are a huge part of a body's adaptive immune response. It's easy to notice T-cell importance as they work to destroy cells that have been infected by a virus and other foreign invaders.

A T-cell function will begin once it has matured in the thymus. Once they mature, they make their way into the bloodstream in search of foreign invaders. They do this by identifying the antigen that activates their function.

Every T-cell has a T-cell receptor (TCR) to help it identify an antigen. TCRs can find a specific antigen when it binds with major histocompatibility complex molecules located on the surface of other cells. Because there are plenty of TCRs on a T-cell's surface, the chances of finding an antigen increases.

T-Cell Isolation

The importance of T-cells goes beyond their function. They also go through a process called isolation that separates T-cells from tissue or blood.

Once a T-cell gets isolated, it can be used for experimentation. Cells that go through the isolation process can also be modified and characterized.

Commonly, T-cells get used in therapy research. Studies have aimed to look at T-cells and how they kill a certain cell.

There are different methods of T-cell isolation, with the most common being microfluidic cell sorting, magnetic cell sorting, and density gradient centrifugation. Another popular method is called selection. The two types of selection are positive and negative.

During a positive selection, T-cells get targeted by the removal method. In contrast, negative selection aims to remove other cell types and leave T-cells untouched.

"What Is a T-Cell?" Explained

Now that you know the answer to "what do T-cells do?", you should have a better understanding of their importance.

Some diseases can affect T-cells and lower the amount that you have in the body. The body needs T-cells to kill infected host cells and regulate the immune response.

Do you want to learn more facts like this to help you with healthy living? Check out our other blog posts for helpful health tips.