New Research Suggests Stem Cell Therapy Could Cure Lung Fibrosis Diseases

A North Carolina-based research group has just developed research that indicates a potential stem cell treatment for lung fibrosis conditions such as cystic fibrosis (CF) and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

In their published findings, the scientists proved that they were able to harvest lung stem cells from healthy people using a non-invasive technique (transbronchial biopsy) in a doctor’s office, then multiply these cells in the laboratory, yielding enough for human therapy.

A subsequent study found that this therapy was actually successful in treating a rodent IPF model.

This study induced a lung fibrosis condition in rats that closely resembled human IPF, and then injected new cultured spheroid lung cells into one group. It was found that, compared to placebo, healthier overall lung function and significantly less inflammation resulted from the treatment of spheroid cells.

So, because of these amazing findings, the researchers have brought the results to the US FDA in order to prepare initial human clinical trials, which is urgently needed.

These lung diseases are characterized by the accumulation of scar-like fibrous tissue resulting from chronic inflammation. This tissue ultimately prevents the lungs from effectively transferring enough oxygen into the bloodstream, risking respiratory failure death.

For IPF, there are two current FDA-approved drugs that help manage symptoms, but they ultimately fail to target the underlying process of the disease. Because of this, the only truly useful treatment is lung transplantation, but many risks, including a high mortality risk, comes with it.

Stem cells, on the other hand, are immature cells that multiply and transform into health adult cells. Some types have anti-fibrosis and anti-inflammatory properties that are perfect for treating a wide range of fibrosis disorders. Furthermore, this therapy could be used in almost any patient, as it was found that even if the donated stem cells were “foreign,” they did not provoke a harmful immune reaction in the recipients.
If the FDA finds the scientists’ research persuading, hopefully, studies will be able to commence by the end of this year, and in the long run, stem cell therapy will be used in a community that desperately needs a cure.

To read more about this novel treatment option and the studies behind it, click here!

To find out more about CF, check out our partners Cystic Life and Strawfie Challenge.

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