(Yicai Global Feb. 12 -- A research team at Tongji University has successfully conducted clinical trials for the regeneration and transplantation of human lung stem cells in a bid to battle pulmonary diseases.
The team, comprising the Shanghai-based institute's Prof. Zuo Wei and Dr. Ren Tao, a respiratory physician at the affiliated Dongfang Hospital, began trials in March and has made 80 transplants to date, Chinese academic journal Protein & Cell reported. Subjects treated suffered bronchiectasis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other lung-related maladies.
Lung diseases are the third-leading cause of human death throughout the world, the report added. Stem cell therapies could be the last hope for sufferers of long-term or terminal sicknesses.
The researchers removed dozens of stem cells from the patients' bronchial tubes and cultivated them in vitro before transplanting them to the area affected by disease. Within six months, the cells should form new alveoli to regenerate the lung.
A number of indicators, such as lung ventilation and capacity, have improved by varying amounts, results from the trials show. The researchers can observe progress via computerized tomography images.