- Chronic conditions like cystic fibrosis and chronic
obstructive pulmonary disorder result in lung inflammation, reduced lung
function and respiratory failure.
- Mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapy has
demonstrated the ability to counteract inflammation in the lungs, in
animal models with chronic lung diseases.
- MSC therapy utilizes the combined anti-inflammatory
and reparative properties that helps to reduce the inflammatory response
while simultaneously restoring lung function.
therapy helps to reduce lung inflammation in an animal model of chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease (COPD)
COPD and cystic fibrosis lead to chronic lung inflammation, reduced lung
function and eventually result in respiratory failure.
‘Mesenchymal stem cell therapy has the potential to reduce inflammation in chronic lung conditions as well as lead to significant improvements in lung structure.’
stem cell (MSC) therapy
is currently being
investigated as a promising therapeutic approach for a number of incurable,
degenerative lung diseases.
The short and
long-term effects of administering stem cell therapy in chronic respiratory
disease is yet to be investigated.
Effects of MSC Therapy
For their new
study, the research team investigated the effectiveness of MSC therapy in a
mouse model of chronic inflammatory lung disease. They had some essential
features of diseases such as COPD and cystic fibrosis.
One set of mice
were given stem cells while another set were used as controls, and did not
receive the MSC therapy.
Stem cells were
delivered intravenously at 4 and 6 weeks of age to mice that over expressed
ENaC; the tissue and cell samples were collected from the lungs at 8 weeks.
The findings were compared to the control
group. Following are the changes that were noticed in the MSC treated group.
- Inflammation was significantly
- Biomarkers of inflammation such as
cell counts for both monocytic cells and
neutrophils were significantly reduced.
- Lung tissue analysis also revealed
a reduction in the mean linear intercept and other measures of lung
- Apart from reducing inflammation
in the lung, MSC therapy also resulted in significant improvements in lung
This suggests that
stem cell therapy has the potential to repair the damaged lung.
According to Dr
Declan Doherty, from Queens University Belfast, UK, "These preliminary
findings demonstrate the potential effectiveness of MSC treatment as a means of
repairing the damage caused by chronic lung diseases such as COPD. The ability
to counteract inflammation in the lungs by utilizing the combined
anti-inflammatory and reparative properties of MSCs could potentially reduce
the inflammatory response in individuals with chronic lung disease whilst also
restoring lung function in these patients."
He also stressed
that further research has to be done to understand the mechanism by which MSCs
repair this damage. At present, though, this finding is very promising as a
therapy to treat chronic lung disease.
Professor Rachel Chambers, ERS Conferences and Research Seminars Director,
"This paper offers novel results in a pre-clinical model which
demonstrates the potential of MSC therapy for the treatment of long-term lung conditions
with exciting potential implications for the future treatment of patients with
COPD and cystic fibrosis."
regards the finding "as a cutting-edge abstract that can help develop novel
therapeutic approaches for the millions of patients suffering from devastating
and often fatal respiratory conditions."
have important potential implications for the future treatment of patients.
were presented in Estoril, Portugal at the European Respiratory Society's Lung
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary
Disease, or COPD, refers to a group of diseases including chronic bronchitis
and asthma that obstructs the airflow and causes breathing-related problems.
Tobacco smoke is a key factor in
the development and progression of COPD in the United States. Other factors include
exposure to air pollutants, occupational pollutants, genetic factors, and
In 2014, in the U.S, COPD was the
third leading cause of death. Around 15.7 million Americans (6.4%) had been
diagnosed with COPD.
Cystic Fibrosis (CF)
Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic
disorder caused by the mutation of the CFTR gene that affects the lungs.
People with the disease inherit
mutant CFTR genes from parents, who may not have the
It is characterized by the
accumulation of sticky mucus in the lungs and excessively salty sweat. The
thickened mucus clogs the lungs and creates a convenient environment for
microorganisms to thrive and cause infections. The recurrent infections affects
the lung functions and ultimately leads to respiratory failure.
The World Health Organization
statistics show that 1 in 2000-3000 newborns in the European
Union are found to be affected by CF. In the
United States, 1 in 3,500 children are born with CF.
In contrast, prevalence
is lesser in non-Western communities. Only 1 in 15,000 African American
children and 1 in 32,000 Asian Americans children suffered
from cystic fibrosis in 1997.
The prevalence of CF in the
Indian subcontinent is not clearly known but may vary from 1 in 10,000 to 1 in
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) - (https:www.cdc.gov/copd/index.html)
- Cystic Fibrosis - (http://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/cystic-fibrosis.htm)