Stem cells offer hope in lung disease treatment

Local scientists say their identification of stem cells that can repair injured lungs supports further research in treating lung diseases.

Local scientists say they have identified stem cells that can repair injured lungs.

Stem cells in different parts of the lungs grow in large numbers to replace dead ones. They are capable of self-repair and self-renewal, but only function in situ.

Zhou Bin and his team from the Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology say they identified a stem cell called BASCs that can respond to different lung injuries.

The cells at the junction of bronchus and pulmonary alveoli can maintain normal operation of lungs. 

When bronchus structures or pulmonary alveoli are injured, they will “transform” to cells in the bronchus structures or pulmonary alveoli to repair injured parts, according to results published in scientific journal Nature Genetics on Tuesday.

According to Zhou, the results offer solid support for further research on using stem cells to treat lung diseases.

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