Lung Cancer Breakthrough via Stem Cell Research

For the first time, researchers have demonstrated that adult human stem cell transplantation results in spontaneous cell regeneration in damaged lung tissue. Published in the August 1 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, the study further supports an existing body of research that suggests blood- and marrow-derived stem cells have the capacity to become many different human tissues. “Many of the body’s tissues once thought to be only locally regenerative may, in fact, be actively replaced by circulating stem cells after hematopoietic or blood-forming stem cell transplantation,” says lead author Benjamin Suratt, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and Vermont Lung Center researcher at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. “This finding is of note not only for its novelty as a regenerative mechanism of the lung, but also for its vast therapeutic implications for any number of lung diseases.” According to Suratt, the study’s findings indicate that circulating stem cells are going into organ tissue and repairing damage, which could have a huge impact on the treatment of such devastating lung diseases as emphysema or cystic fibrosis. Supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health and a National Center for Research Resources Centers for Biomedical Research Excellence grant, Suratt and his colleagues are currently looking further into what types of cells have the capacity to differentiate and generate a different type of cell, and whether these cells might be used to treat cystic fibrosis. Mission Statement: Vermont Lung AssociationLung disease is a significant cause of mortality and especially morbidity in the U.S.? While the six other leading causes of death have decreased over the last decade, all forms of lung disease continue to rise.???If we are to make significant progress in combating this pressing health problem, we will need to have trained scientists and resources to study the causes and cures of lung disease. The Vermont Lung Center (VLC),?a Program on Lung Biology and Disease, has been in existence at the UVM College of Medicine since 1972.? It has had a rich and productive past that has had a significant impact nationally. The keystone to the VLC program is translational research.??The goals of the VLC are to investigate the mechanisms of lung biology and disease, and to train and retain outstanding translational scientists at UVM.? Our key product is excellence. The current program centers around a 5-year award by the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) of the NIH.? The VLC is a NCRR Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE).