Stem cell therapy may help recondition lungs previously rejected for transplant

Nearly 1,650 people in the U.S. are awaiting lung transplants. Unfortunately, both domestically and abroad, the demand for donor lungs far outpaces the supply. The limited availability of donor lungs can lead to long delays before transplant, leaving patients to face a mortality rate of up to 40 percent while they wait.

Most potentially transplantable lungs are rejected by surgical teams because of injury or dysfunction, such as pulmonary edema (fluid build-up in the lungs). In addition to rendering lungs unusable for , pulmonary edema also signals that the lungs are not functioning properly post-transplant and is a major cause of illness and death among lung transplant recipients. Lungs that can clear fluid better are associated with better outcomes among recipients after transplantation.

In this study, Danny F. McAuley, Gerard F. Curley, Umar I. Hamid, John G. Laffey, Jason Abbott, David H. McKenna, Xiaohui Fang, Michael A. Matthay, and Jae W. Lee looked at whether lungs that were rejected for transplantation because of edema could be "reconditioned" to qualify for transplant. They studied donor lungs that had been rejected for transplantation by the Northern California Transplant Donor Network and that were cleared for research use by the donors' families.

Roughly 50 percent of these rejected lungs had a decreased capacity to reabsorb lung fluid. The research team found that administering human mesenchymal stem (stromal) cells (MSCs) intravenously restored the ability of the lung to remove alveolar edema fluid more normally. The research highlights the potential for MSC administration as a therapy for resolving and improving donor lungs before transplantation. The study has implications for increasing the supply of usable available for transplant.

More information: The article, "Clinical grade allogeneic human mesenchymal stem cells restore alveolar fluid clearance in human lungs rejected for transplantation," is available online: ajplung.physiology.org/content/306/9/L809

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Many more lungs suitable for transplantation

Jun 30, 2011

Four patients now have new lungs thanks to a purpose-built machine used for the first time worldwide by Sahlgrenska University Hospital. Acquired for research at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, ...

Shedding new light on double-lung transplants

Jan 27, 2014

In the largest retrospective study to date using data from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) database for adult double-lung transplants, Temple University School of Medicine researchers have shown that there is ...

Recommended for you

Growing a blood vessel in a week

18 hours ago

The technology for creating new tissues from stem cells has taken a giant leap forward. Three tablespoons of blood are all that is needed to grow a brand new blood vessel in just seven days. This is shown ...

Testing time for stem cells

21 hours ago

DefiniGEN is one of the first commercial opportunities to arise from Cambridge's expertise in stem cell research. Here, we look at some of the fundamental research that enables it to supply liver and pancreatic ...

Team finds key signaling pathway in cause of preeclampsia

Oct 23, 2014

A team of researchers led by a Wayne State University School of Medicine associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology has published findings that provide novel insight into the cause of preeclampsia, the leading cause ...

Rapid test to diagnose severe sepsis

Oct 23, 2014

A new test, developed by University of British Columbia researchers, could help physicians predict within an hour if a patient will develop severe sepsis so they can begin treatment immediately.

User comments