It seems like it was ages ago that researchers made great promises and projections about the use of stem cells in treating several conditions, but many of those projections have proved fruitless. The research into stem cells is a painfully slow process, but recently researchers in two different studies made great strides in developing stem cells to help treat lung conditions and ailments.
The studies, published by Respiratory Research and Stem Cells Translational Medicine, focused on the treatment of lung diseases which researchers have found little success in so far. In one animal study, the research team performed transbronchial biopsies to obtain lung cells from rats. After the cells were cultured and multiplied, they were injected into rats with a condition like idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. The rats that received the lung cells showed marked improvement including less inflammation and more healthy cells compared to rats in the study that did not receive the stem cells.
The new research demonstrates that stem cells can be used to reverse chronic lung conditions like cystic fibrosis and emphysema. The research marks the first time that stem cells have been gathered and reproduced using a minimally invasive procedure. Traditionally stem cells must be obtained from a piece of lung that must be removed surgically. Now stem cells can be harvested from the patient in a simple outpatient procedure. The researchers borrowed some techniques and developments from stem cell research in the circulatory world. Though research is positive, the teams caution that it's not ready for use in clinics yet.
Other Ways Stems Cell Research is Moving Forward
The new studies are great news for those with chronic lung issues, and other doctors are leading the use of stem cells for other treatments. Kenneth Pettine of Loveland, Colorado recently completed a successful three-year study that demonstrated the efficacy of using stem cells to treat chronic or degenerative musculoskeletal conditions. Pettine is one of the United States leading researchers in the development of stem cell-based therapies for conditions like osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease, and its possible Pettine's research can be used to fuel other types of stem cell therapies.
Teams like Kenneth Pettine's and the team in the stem cell pulmonary study are inching closer to the goal of putting stem cells to use for the greater good of people. With some more time, we could see these Kenneth Pettine types of reputable stem-cell therapies in our local doctors office sooner than later.