Pre-clinical studies for how stem cells can treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cystic fibrosis have demonstrated a potential future treatments for the diseases.
Preliminary research reviewed at the European Respiratory Society’s Lung Science Conference has shown how stem cells are capable of reducing symptomatic lung inflammation from both COPD and cystic fibrosis.
This early-stage research was conducted using animal analogs that carry those diseases; however, it still opens the door to further study in humans.
Stem Cells Used to Treat Chronic Lung Inflammation
Researchers delivered mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) intravenously to mice with chronic lung inflammation. An examination was done 8 weeks after the procedure and compared with a control group that received no treatment.
Results from this work have shown that animals provided with the MSCs experienced a significant reduction in inflammation.
Cell 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.
11 million Americans have been diagnosed with CPOD according to the American Lung Association; but millions more unknowingly carry the disease. Likewise, an additional 30,000 people in the US have cystic fibrosis. The primary treatment for those diseases targets the symptoms, so the idea of a long-term solution that attacks the diseases should come as relief to millions… even if that treatment may be years away.
Further research is absolutely required to understand how the stem cells were able to repair the damaged lung tissue; but this is a promising first stem.
European Respiratory Society (ERS). “Potential of stem cell therapy to repair lung damage.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 March 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170327083722.htm>.