Study shows potential of stem cell therapy to repair lung damage

March 24, 2017

A new study has found that stem cell therapy can reduce lung inflammation in an animal model of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cystic fibrosis. Although, still at a pre-clinical stage, these findings have important potential implications for the future treatment of patients.

The findings were presented in Estoril, Portugal today (25 March, 2017) at the European Respiratory Society's Lung Science Conference.

Lung damage caused by chronic inflammation in conditions such as COPD and , leads to reduced and eventually respiratory failure. Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) is currently being investigated as a promising therapeutic approach for a number of incurable, degenerative lung diseases. However, there is still limited data on the short and long-term effects of administering in chronic respiratory .

The new research investigated the effectiveness of MSC therapy in a mouse model of chronic inflammatory lung disease, which reflects some of the essential features of diseases such as COPD and cystic fibrosis.

Researchers delivered stem cells intravenously to β-ENaC overexpressing mice at 4 and 6 weeks of age, before collecting samples tissue and cells from the lungs at 8 weeks. They compared these findings to a control group that did not receive the MSC therapy.

The results showed that inflammation was significantly reduced in the group receiving MSC therapy. Cells counts for both monocytic cells and neutrophils, both signs of inflammation, were significantly reduced after MSC therapy. Analysis of lung tissue revealed a reduction in the mean linear intercept and other measures of lung destruction in MSC treated mice. As well as reducing inflammation in the lung, MSC therapy also resulted in significant improvements in lung structure, suggesting that this form of treatment has the potential to repair the damaged lung.

Dr Declan Doherty, from Queens University Belfast, UK, commented: "These preliminary findings demonstrate the potential effectiveness of MSC treatment as a means of repairing the damage caused by such as COPD. The ability to counteract inflammation in the lungs by utilising the combined anti-inflammatory and reparative properties of MSCs could potentially reduce the inflammatory response in individuals with chronic lung disease whilst also restoring lung function in these patients. Although further research is needed to improve our understanding of how MSCs repair this damage, these findings suggest a promising role for MSC therapy in treating patients with chronic lung disease.

Professor Rachel Chambers, ERS Conferences and Research Seminars Director, commented: This paper offers novel results in a pre-clinical model which demonstrates the potential of MSC stem cell therapy for the treatment of long-term lung conditions with exciting potential implications for the future treatment of patients with COPD and cystic fibrosis. Although, still at an early stage in terms of translation to the human disease situation, this paper is one of many cutting-edge abstracts from the Lung Science Conference, which aims to provide an international platform to highlight novel experimental research with therapeutic potential. We rely on high quality basic and translational respiratory science, such as these latest findings, to develop novel therapeutic approaches for the millions of patients suffering from devastating and often fatal respiratory conditions.

Explore further: DNA-modulating drug attenuates lung inflammation in mice

Related Stories

DNA-modulating drug attenuates lung inflammation in mice

July 21, 2016
Patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) suffer from chronic respiratory infections, primarily caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which lead to airway inflammation and damage. Several recent studies have suggested that a specific ...

Gene delivery to the lung can treat broad range of diseases within and beyond the lung

January 25, 2017
Targeting therapeutic genes to the lungs offers the potential to manage serious lung diseases that do not respond to other forms of treatment and to use the lungs as metabolic factories to produce therapeutic proteins for ...

Team discovers lung regeneration mechanism

November 12, 2014
A research team led by Jackson Laboratory Professors Frank McKeon, Ph.D., and Wa Xian, Ph.D., reports on the role of certain lung stem cells in regenerating lungs damaged by disease.

Study finds shared network of genes in COPD and pulmonary fibrosis

April 25, 2016
Research on chronic lung diseases has primarily focused on studying conditions, such as emphysema or lung fibrosis, in isolation. In a new study, Yale scientists identified a common genetic network for two chronic lung diseases ...

Recommended for you

Groundbreaking investigative effort identifies gonorrhea vaccine candidates

September 19, 2017
Researchers at Oregon State University have identified a pair of proteins that show promise as the basis for a gonorrhea vaccine.

Snail fever progression linked to nitric oxide production

September 14, 2017
Bilharzia, caused by a parasitic worm found in freshwater called Schistosoma, infects around 200 million people globally and its advance can lead to death, especially in children in developing countries.

Systems analysis points to links between Toxoplasma infection and common brain diseases

September 13, 2017
More than 2 billion people - nearly one out of every three humans on earth, including about 60 million people in the United States - have a lifelong infection with the brain-dwelling parasite Toxoplasma gondii.

Study clears important hurdle toward developing an HIV vaccine

September 13, 2017
An international team of researchers has demonstrated a way of overcoming one of the major stumbling blocks that has prevented the development of a vaccine against HIV: the ability to generate immune cells that stay in circulation ...

As 'flesh-eating' Leishmania come closer, a vaccine against them does, too

September 13, 2017
Parasites that ulcerate the skin, can disfigure the face, and may fatally mutilate its victim's internal organs are creeping closer to the southern edges of the United States.

Promising clinical trial results could give doctors a new tool against drug-resistant strains of malaria parasite

September 13, 2017
Tulane University researchers have developed a new drug that is effective against non-severe cases of malaria, according to results from an FDA-supervised clinical trial published in the latest issue of The Lancet Infectious ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.