A team of researchers has made great strides and new developments in recent weeks regarding stem cells in the treatment of lung conditions and the doctors participating in the study say it may only be a matter of a few weeks before the results are put to further study in a clinical trial.
The two studies were titled Derivation of therapeutic lung spheroid cells from minimally invasive transbronchial pulmonary biopsies and Safety and Efficacy of Allogeneic Lung Spheroid Cells in a Mismatched Rat Model of Pulmonary Fibrosis and were published in Respiratory Research and Stem Cells Translational Medicine respectively.
This is the first time anyone has generated potentially therapeutic lung stem cells from minimally invasive biopsy specimens, Dr. Jason Lobo, director of the university's lung transplant and interstitial lung disease program, said in a press release regarding the study. Lobo was co-senior author of both studies.
The studies illustrated two key findings. The first is that a new minimally invasive procedure was developed to harvest lung stem cells. Previously a surgical procedure was required to obtain the stem cells necessary for therapy. The second was that these lung stem cells improved the condition of rats suffering from fibrosis. The two findings combined means that doctors can easily harvest lung stem cells to treat the lung diseases of the patients they come from. Using a patient's stem cells helps reinforce the healing effort for chronic lung conditions and drastically reduces the chances of an immune system rejection.
The doctors plan to continue the research and find ways in which these stem cells can be used on the ground floor. We think the properties of these cells make them potentially therapeutic for a wide range of lung fibrosis diseases, added Dr. Ke Cheng, who led the studies with Lobo.
Other Clinical Trials Happening Now
The developments from the North Carolina teams join a list of new findings and studies on stem cells happening across the country right now. Recently Kenneth Pettine MD, of Loveland, Colorado and his stem cell team found that mesenchymal stem cells were a safe and effective treatment for musculoskeletal conditions like osteoarthritis. Though Pettine recently completed the trial, the new developments Dr. Kenneth Pettine and knowledge from his trial and trials like the lung study may be turned into treatments found in a doctor's office sooner than later.