Scientists Grow New Lung Tissue For Cystic Fibrosis Research

Cool. The Boston Globe's Carolyn Johnson reports here about a competition between Boston University and Harvard scientists that turned into a valuable collaboration:

Two teams of Boston scientists have developed new ways to turn stem cells into different types of lung tissue, surmounting a major hurdle for scientists trying to harness the power of stem cell biology to study and develop treatments for major lung diseases.

One team then used skin cells from cystic fibrosis patients to create embryonic-like stem cells, then working in lab dishes used those cells to grow tissue that lines the airways and contains a defect responsible for the rare, fatal disease. The technique — essentially a recipe for growing such lung tissue — could provide a powerful platform to screen drugs and study the biology of the disease.


A team led by Massachusetts General Hospital researchers created lung tissue from a patient with the genetic mutation that most commonly underlies cystic fibrosis and researchers hope the technique will also be a powerful tool to study other diseases that affect the airway tissue, such as asthma and lung cancer. The other team, led by Boston University School of Medicine scientists, was able to derive cells that form the delicate air sacs of the lung from mouse embryonic stem cells. The team is hoping to refine the recipe for making the cells so that they can be used to derive lung tissue from a bank of 100 stem cell lines of patients with lung disease. Both papers were published Thursday in the journal Cell Stem Cell.

Read the full story here; the video above was posted by Mass. General.

This program aired on April 5, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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Carey Goldberg Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.



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