The human immune system is an exciting and powerful place where numerous battles are fought every day. Unlike many other body systems that can be clearly delineated, the immune system makes use of many parts of the body, pulling a variety of organs, cells and chemicals into its important work. One such tiny protein is known as Thymosin Alpha 1, and it continues to show great promise in its ability to improve the body’s immune response.
Thymosin Alpha 1 (Ta1) is produced by the thymus gland, which is a small organ of the lymphatic system. This gland is best known for producing important immune response cells known as T cells. T cells are hugely important in the body because they can destroy cells that have become infected or that have been changed into something dangerous, such as happens in cancer.
Ta1 is the biologic response modifier that tells the thymus to release mature T cells. Without proper Ta1 response, the body cannot appropriately fight off certain infections, and it cannot adapt to new stressors and dangers. Ta1 helps immune cells recognize new infectious invaders while also improving the overall response of T cells as well as dendritic cells, another type of immune body.
While Ta1 is important in all human bodies, its function is particularly beneficial to those whose immune systems are depressed or to those who are actively fighting off infections. This protein helps to eliminate unhealthy cells from the body, stop cancerous growth and protect the body’s cells from damage over time. It can work against bacteria, viruses and fungal infections while also increasing the effectiveness of vaccines. Because Ta1 prompts the release of both killer T and helper T cells, it not only hunts down and destroys infected body cells but also improves the overall functionality of the body’s immune response.
Today, Ta1 is approved for use in over 35 countries around the world. It is specifically used for treating hepatitis B and C and is given in the form of Zadaxin®. Researchers continue to study Zadaxin® as they consider a myriad of other ways in which it could be used. Future possibilities include treating drug-resistant tuberculosis, malignant melanoma, chronic fatigue and Lyme disease. Each of these diseases have posed special problems for researchers in the past as they have looked for proven treatment strategies.
In addition, because Ta1 clearly strengthens the body’s immune system, it may be an appropriate adjunct treatment for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. It could also be given along with vaccinations, such as those targeting the influenza virus, to strengthen the body’s response.