Stem cell research could offer hope to people with COPD
In a collaboration between the Institute for Respiratory Health and the University of Western Australia, researchers have shown that bone marrow stem cells can reduce inflammation to the lungs and fluid bathing the stem cells can further promote healing and regeneration.
Associate Professor Yuben Moodley, who led the Phase 1 clinical trial said, “We wanted to identify which parts of the fluid were restorative. What we discovered was that ‘vesicles’ (tiny sacs that transport material within or outside a cell) have anti-inflammatory properties.”
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe.
The disease is the fifth leading cause of death in Australia. The two main types of COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Many people with COPD have a combination of both.
There’s currently no cure for COPD.
“We’re hoping that our initial findings will offer some hope to those with COPD,” said Associate Professor Moodley.
“While stem-cell treatment has not shown the ability to cure COPD our research could lead to improved therapies for patients, helping them to live longer and age well. Next steps include clinical trials that will determine if this treatment is safe.”
The findings of the study were recently published in the Stem Cells Translational Medicine journal.