Department of Geriatrics and Gerontology, Tohoku University Hospital.
To develop a new cell based therapy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), we need to understand 1) the role of tissue-specific and bone marrow-derived stem cells, 2) extracellular matrix, and 3) growth factors. Recently, bronchioalveolar stem cells were identified in murine distal lungs. Impairment of these stem cells may cause improper lung repair after inflammation, resulting in pulmonary emphysema. Bone marrow-derived cells are necessary to repair injured lungs. However, the long term role of these cells is not understood yet. Although we need more careful analysis and additional experiments, growth factors, such as hepatocyte growth factor, are good candidates for the new cell based therapy for COPD. Lung was believed as a non-regenerative organ. Based on these recent reports about lung regeneration and stem cells, however, new strategies to treat COPD and a new point of view to understand the pathophysiology of COPD are rising.
PMID: 17419397 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]