Rejuvenating damaged newborn mouse lungs with stem cells

February 14, 2018

Dr. Bernard Thébaud and his team have shown for the first time that differentiated human stem cells can prevent lung damage in lab models of bronchopulmonary dysplasia. BPD is a chronic condition caused by the breathing equipment that keeps premature babies alive. Usually when the lungs are injured, cells called AEC2s located in the deep lung multiply and help repair the damage. However, BPD keeps these cells from multiplying and damages their DNA. To fix this, Dr. Thebaud’s team generated AEC2s from genetically reprogrammed human cells called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and injected them to lab models before lung injury could start. This treatment was able to prevent BPD in these lab models. The human AEC2 cells were also safe and did not travel to other organs or form tumours, which often happens when iPSCs are directly injected. These results published in Cytotherapy show that this strategy holds promise for lung diseases in which the local repair cells are injured.

Authors: Mehdi Shafa, Lavinia Iuliana Ionescu, Arul Vadivel, Jennifer J.P. Collins, Liqun Xu, Shumei Zhong, Martin Kang, Geneviève De Caen, Manijeh Daneshmand, Jenny Shi, Katherine Z. Fu, Andrew Qi, Ying Wang, James Ellis, William L. Stanford & Bernard Thébaud.

Funding: This research was possible because of generous donations to The Ottawa Hospital for Regenerative Medicine. The researchers have also received support from the Canadian Thoracic Society, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Stem Cell Network.

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