Chinese scientists, in a breakthrough, have regenerated a patient's damaged lungs using stem cell transplants, a development that can lead to treatments for chronic lung diseases.
In a pilot clinical trial for the transplantation, the scientists from the Tongji University took stem cells from the patient's airways and let them grow many times before transplanting them into the patient's lungs.
Earlier, stem cell transplantation were successfully carried out in mice, regenerating human bronchial and alveolar structures in the lungs of the rodents.
The fibrotic area in the injured lungs of the mice were replaced by new human alveoli after receiving stem cell transplantation.
"For patients suffering from chronic pulmonary diseases, bronchiectasis and interstitial lung diseases, the lung stem cell transplantation could be the biggest hope. Chronic lung diseases could be conquered within five years," Wei said.
In the clinical trials on humans, dozens of stem cells were brushed from their airways and expanded tens of millions of times.
They were then transplanted into the patients' lungs, where the stem cells developed new alveoli and bronchus structures, repairing and replacing injured parts.
Post transplantation, patients' breathing and their ability to walk distances, as well as repair and replacement of stem cells on injured parts showed marked improvement.
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