The important role played by stem cells of individuals in helping them fight off various serious ailments was established years ago. A new study has found that stem cell therapy can prove effective in repairing lung inflammation and damage in patients suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and Cystic fibrosis. The findings of the study, which were revealed at the Lung Science Conference of 2017 held in Estoril in Portugal, have created a hope for developing effective treatments for the aforementioned ailments. The researchers also found that the therapy can also help in improving the lung structure which led them to believe that it had the potential to help repair damaged lungs.
Details Of The Study
The study, which was conducted by researchers at the Queens University in Belfast in UK, aimed to investigate the effect of Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapy on mice suffering from COPD. MSCs are multipotent stem cells capable of evolving into different types of cells such as flat cells or adipocytes, bone cells or osteoblasts, and even muscle cells or myocytes. They are also capable of self-renewal and since this does not affect their multipotency, they are believed to be extremely effective for carrying out tissue repair.
The researchers used two groups of mice for their study and the mice from the first group were intravenously injected with the stem cells at the age of four to six weeks. The researchers then collected sample tissues and cells from the mice of the lungs when they reached the age of eight weeks. They then compared the results of analysis of these cells and tissue with the results of the analysis of the cells and tissues taken from second group of mice. The second group of the rodents was a control group which had not received any MSC therapy.
It was observed that the group of mice which had been receiving MSC therapy showed a significant reduction in inflammation. In addition the cell count for both monocytic cells and neutrophils, both of which reflected the level of inflammation, was visibly reduced in the mice receiving MSC therapy. The results also showed a significant improvement in lung structure as well as reduction in lung destruction.
According to Dr. Declan Doherty, who was a part of the research team, these findings pave signify the fact that MSC can prove potentially effective in counteracting the inflammation of lungs resulting from ailments like COPD. She expressed hope that the combined anti-inflammatory and reparative properties possessed by MSC could hold the key to treating chronic lung diseases besides improving lung structure and function.
At the same time she also cautioned that since the results were based only on clinical-trials, further research was needed to prove their effectiveness on human patients. She also said that such research will help them to better understand how MSC’s repair lung damage enabling them to use the findings for developing an effective treatment for chronic lung ailments.
What The Findings Mean For Patients
Patients suffering from COPD and Cystic Fibrosis tend to experience chronic inflammation that causes lung damage. They also cause a reduction in lung functioning and this can eventually lead to respiratory failure which is a major cause of loss of life due to respiratory issues. If the findings prove equally beneficial for humans it can give new hope to millions of patients suffering from the devastating and often fatal consequences of respiratory conditions.
However, till that happens, the patients have to stay content with the fact that MSC therapy is being investigated for providing the much needed therapeutic approach for the several different types of incurable and degenerative lung diseases that cause immense pain and discomfort to those suffering from them.