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Stem Cell Therapy in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

BY: Nidhi Uppangala | Category: Healthcare | Submitted: 2010-06-22 22:14:53

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Stem cells are undifferentiated cells with the capacity to divide and differentiate into any type of body cells, such as muscle cell, skull cell, cartilage cell or even nerve cell. Hence Stem cell transplant can be used to replace torn and diseased cells by healthy and new cell type.

Allergies and respiratory conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are present all over the world and damage the organs such as lungs and other body tissues. Allergies such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can be treated using stem cells transplant; this will replace torn and diseased cells with new ones. Stem cells will repair both the immune system of the body and also repair lung injury caused by asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Stem Cell Therapy to Repair Lung Injury:

Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease cause lung injury and this will lead to high level of morbidity and also mortality of patients. This kind of problem can be solved using stem cells to regenerate and repair lung tissue and will decrease the mortality rate of patient. Stem cell therapy is a new form of therapy used in regenerative medicine.

Lung injury is repaired by stem cells in both proximal airway and distal airspace, where as stem cell therapy may also lead to fibrosis and airway remodelling. Adult stem cells are present in particular niches of lung tissue, or stem cells which are present in the bone marrow can be mobilized into the site of injury, that is in the present case lung.

Technique Used:

1. Stem cells extracted from the bone marrow are cultured in special nutrients and growth factor media. These growth factors give specific signals to the stem cell, hence they become pulmonary stem cells.
2. This whole process will take up time of about three weeks.
3. Patients with lung injury by asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are given these pulmonary stem cells, progenitor cell along with human stem cell growth factors intravenously.
4. Post stem cell transplant medications are given to the patient for about six month duration.
5. Recent study showed that the three patient with sever chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, after receiving stem cell transplant showed improved pulmonary function.

Source of Stem cell for Lung Repair, Remodelling and Regeneration:

Endogenous lung stem cells:

Progenitor cells that help in maintaining and repairing of injured lung epithelium are extracted and have been described for the use of tracheobronchial, bronchiolar, and alveolar compartments.

Specialized Cells derived from Embryonic and Adult Stem Cell:

Embryonic and adult stem cells after extraction are cultured in a media containing specialized nutrients and also growth factors which make these stem cells to differentiate into lung stem cells and then these differentiated stem cells are used to treat patient with lung injury.

Future Needs and Difficulties:

1. How to maintain stem cells within the lung?
2. Research and further studies are required to optimize the techniques used for isolation, maintenance and differentiation of stem cells.
3. Techniques need to be discovered to control the beneficial effects of engrafted stem cells and to avoid the potential harmful effects.

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