May 13, 2011
Brigham and Women's Hospital researchers discover the first lung stem cell capable of working with several structures inside the lung.
Researchers identified and isolated human lung stem cells and tested their functionality.
They demonstrated the cell was capable of dividing both into new stem cells and into cells that could grow with several types of lung tissue.
Next they injected the stem cell into mice with damaged lungs.
They found the new stem cells formed new cells which not only formed new lung tissue, but also structurally worked with existing lung tissue.
Study authors say their findings are a critical first step in developing clinical treatments for those with lung disease.
They add further research is needed but initial findings of being able to create new lung tissue are promising.
The research was funded through grants from the National Institutes of Health.
Findings appear in the 'New England Journal of Medicine.'