Pulmonary fibrosis is a restrictive lung disease in which scars begin to form in the lungs. This scarring can cause contraction and thicken the walls of the lungs making it difficult for the lungs to expand. This decreases oxygen delivery to the blood and causes shortness of breath.
The cause of Pulmonary Fibrosis is often unknown (Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis), but there are some theories that point to environmental exposures or genetic factors as possible culprits.
There is no known cure for Pulmonary Fibrosis and conventional treatment is limited to supplemental oxygen delivery and experimental drugs.
Many researchers are looking toward stem cell therapy to try and cure Pulmonary Fibrosis by dissolving scars and aiding in regeneration of damaged lung tissue. Currently, the goal of stem cell treatment for Pulmonary Fibrosis is to improve the patient’s quality of life and try and regain some of the lung capacity that they have lost.
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The most current research regarding stem cells and Pulmonary Fibrosis is given below:
Mesenchymal Stem Cells for the Treatment of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
Argyrios Tzouvelekis, Rebecca Toonkel, Theodoros Karampitsakos, Kantha Medapalli, Ioanna Ninou, Vasilis Aidinis, Demosthenes Bouros, and Marilyn K. Glassberg
Abstract: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is an inexorably progressive lung disease of unknown origin. Prognosis is poor, with limited treatment options available, and the median survival remains just 3–5 years. Despite the use of pirfenidone and nintedanib for the treatment of IPF, curative therapies remain elusive and mortality remains high. Regenerative medicine and the use of cell-based therapies has recently emerged as a potential option for various diseases. Promising results of preclinical studies using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) suggest that they may represent a potential therapeutic option for the treatment of chronic lung diseases including IPF. Encouraging results of Phase 1 studies of MSCs various have reduced safety concerns. Nonetheless, there is still a pressing need for exploratory biomarkers and interval end-points in the context of MSCs investigation. This review intends to summarize the current state of knowledge for stem cells in the experimental and clinical setting of IPF, present important safety and efficacy issues, highlight future challenges and address the need for large, multicenter clinical trials coupled with realistic end-points, including biomarkers, to assess treatment efficacy.
Cell Therapy in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
Abstract: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a fatal disease with no effective or curative treatment options. In recent decades, cell-based therapies using stem cells or lung progenitor cells to regenerate lung tissue have experienced rapid growth in both preclinical animal models and translational clinical studies. In this review, the current knowledge of these cell therapies is summarized. Although further investigations are required, these studies indicate that cell therapies are a promising therapeutic approach for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.