Cell Injection Can Treat Lung Disease


Some scientists believe that they have found stem cells in the lungs. These cells can create various types of organ tissue, thus opening the possibility of treatment for lung diseases like emphysema and others.

According to Associated Press (AP), this finding is published in the ‘New England Journal of Medicine’ on Thursday, May 12, 2011. Scientists who conducted the study among others are, Piero Anversa, Joseph Loscalzo, and their colleagues at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston.

In a telephone interview, Anversa says that it is unclear what  these lung stem cells usually do. However, he revealed, lung stem cells are involved in other lung cells replacement which is lost throughout life.

Using a rat as an experiment, the scientists injected human cells into the body of the animal. After that the cells showed a versatile capabilities by establishing air duct, air bags, and blood vessels within 10-14 days.

“We have a huge amount of regeneration, involving millions of new cells,” says Anversa.

He also said that these cells may also be useful to develop lung after patients does a cancer surgery attacking the organ. However, it is unclear whether these cells can be used to treat asthma.

However, Loscalzo explained that is is still too early to directly confirm that lung disease can be treated by using the cells. He explains, researchers initially examined emphysema and high blood pressure in the pulmonary artery or often known as pulmonary hypertension.

Emphysema itself is a progressive disease that destroys important parts of the lungs and leave a large cavity that disrupt lung function.

The experts who are not involved in the research confirms that the findings must be confirmed by conducting further research. They also considered, it is too early to promise about the treatment of lung diseases using the cells.

Yet they say the findings could be a significant progress in the field which is quite difficult in study.

“This is a remarkable finding, and they have tremendous implications. But it must be repeated in the same way,” said Dr. Alan Fine of Boston University.