Study Shows Potential of Stem Cell Therapy to Repair Lung Damage

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 on March 25, 2017 at the European Respiratory Society's Lung Science Conference. Lung damage caused by chronic inflammation in conditions such as COPD and cystic fibrosis, leads to reduced lung function and eventually respiratory failure. Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapy 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 stem cell therapy in chronic respiratory disease. 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 ?-ENaC overexpressing mice at 4 and 6 weeks of age, before collecting sample tissue and cells from the lungs at 8 weeks. The scientists compared these findings to those of 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.
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