A team of scientists from the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine and North Carolina State University (NCSU) has developed promising research towards a possible stem cell treatment for several lung conditions, such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cystic fibrosis -- often-fatal conditions that affect tens of millions of Americans. In the journal Respiratory Research, the scientists demonstrated that they could harvest lung stem cells from people using a relatively non-invasive, doctor's-office technique. They were then able to multiply the harvested lung cells in the lab to yield enough cells sufficient for human therapy. Thus open-access article, published online on June 30, 2017, is titled “Derivation of Therapeutic Lung Spheroid Cells from Minimally Invasive Transbronchial Pulmonary Biopsies.” In a second study, published in Stem Cells Translational Medicine, the team showed that in rodents they could use the same type of lung cell to successfully treat a model of IPF - a chronic, irreversible, and ultimately fatal disease characterized by a progressive decline in lung function.
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