The functioning of stem cells has an outstanding nature. Initially, the mouse stem cells have been transformed into fully-functioning lung cells, promising repair of damaged lung tissue. The potential of stem cells - primitive cells that can be turned into more specialised cells - is now well established. Researchers at the Imperial College Tissue Engineering and now report on the first creation of lung cells from stem cells in mice.
The mouse stem cells were placed in a specialised growth system which caused them to develop into the cells responsible for gas exchange in the lungs. This is the first step towards replacing damaged lung tissue with healthy functioning cells. These could be developed so that the body would not reject them and could, in time, replace conventional lung transplants. The researchers are now growing the new lung cells on bioactive foams and scaffolds, to see if they can make lung tissue that could be transplanted in further experiments.