Stem cell researchers exploring a new approach for the care of respiratory diseases report that an experimental treatment involving transplantable lung cells was associated with improved outcomes in tests on mice with acute lung injury. The lung cells were derived from human embryonic stem cells.
Findings by investigators at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston appeared in the March issue of Molecular Therapy.
Mice receiving the transplantable lung cells lived longer, sustained less scarring in their lungs, and had normal amounts of oxygen in their blood, said Rick Wetsel, Ph.D., the study's senior author and a professor in the university's Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases.
In this podcast, Dr. Wetsel provides additional details about his team's study. He also discusses why the group chose to transplant a specific type of lung cell, known as alveolar epithelial type II, and explains how the scientists went about generating these lung cells. In addition, Dr. Wetsel talks about the specific research questions that still need to be addressed before this technique finds applications in human clinical studies.