Tongji University has announced a breakthrough in the treatment of Lungs Regenerative Therapy for lung disease through tissue repair through stem cell transplantation.The research results have been published in Protein & Cell journal.

Lungs Regenerative therapy works by removing stem cells from patients’ airways and allowing them to grow many times before being transplanted into the lungs of patients.

“Lung diseases are the third most common cause of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer, while traditional methods do not work that effectively,” said Zuo Wei, a professor at Tongji University, who led the research team.

Lung transplant surgery is largely limited due to the donor’s lack of lungs as well as severe side effects as a result of rejection, he said.

Regenerative stem cell-based therapy with patient own cells is probably the biggest hope for patients with lung disease, he said. The Lungs Regenerative therapy can be used in diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, bronchiectasis and interstitial lung diseases.

The team works with Shanghai East Hospital, which is affiliated with Tongji University, and the therapy has proven to be effective in the treatment of lung tissue after its use in six hospitalized patients with interstitial lung disease. Dozens of stem cells have been brushed from their airways and expanded millions of times.

They were then transplanted into the patient’s lungs, where the stem cells were transformed into new alveolar and bronchial structures and the injured parts were repaired and replaced.

The breathing and walking ability of the patients improved. The CT images also showed repair and replacement of the stem cells in the injured parts.

In addition, two patients with bronchiectasis said their symptoms, including cough and asthma, had been alleviated.

The team’s technology is the first in the world and the research project has been approved by China’s National Board of Health and Family Planning and the Chinese Food and Drug Administration.

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