Pulmonary Fibrosis, Emphysema, COPD Stem Cell Treatment

Stem Cell Therapy Pulmonary Fibrosis


Stem Cell Treatment for Pulmonary Fibrosis and COPD are now available at SIRM

Pulmonary fibrosis is the formation or development of excess fibrous connective tissue (fibrosis) in the lungs. It is also described as "scarring of the lung."

Pulmonary fibrosis is suggested by a history of progressive shortness of breath (dyspnea) with exertion. Sometimes fine inspiratory crackles can be heard at the lung bases on auscultation. A chest x-ray may or may not be abnormal, but high Resolution CT will frequently demonstrate abnormalities.


Symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis are mainly:

  • Shortness of breath, particularly with exertion
  • Chronic dry, hacking coughing
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Chest discomfort
  • Loss of appetite and rapid weight loss

Stem Cell Therapy Pulmonary Fibrosis and COPD

Possible Causes

Pulmonary fibrosis may be a secondary effect of other diseases. Most of these are classified as interstitial lung diseases. Examples include autoimmune disorders, viral infections or other microscopic injuries to the lung. However, pulmonary fibrosis can also appear without any known cause. In this case, it is termed "idiopathic". Most idiopathic cases are diagnosed as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. This is a diagnosis of exclusion of a characteristic set of histologic/pathologic features known as usual interstitial pneumonia (UIP). In either case, there is a growing body of evidence which points to a genetic predisposition in a subset of patients. For example, a mutation in Surfactant protein C (SP-C) has been found to exist in some families with a history of pulmonary fibrosis.

Diseases and conditions that may cause pulmonary fibrosis as a secondary effect include:

  • Inhalation of environmental and occupational pollutants, such as in asbestosis, silicosis and exposure to certain gases. Coal miners, ship workers and sand blasters among others are at higher risk. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis, most often resulting from inhaling dust contaminated with bacterial, fungal, or animal products.
  • Cigarette smoking can increase the risk or make the illness worse.
  • Some typical connective tissue diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and Scleroderma. Other diseases that involve connective tissue, such as sarcoidosis and Wegener's granulomatosis.
  • Infections
  • Certain medications, e.g. amiodarone, bleomycin, busulfan, methotrexate, and nitrofurantoin
  • Radiation therapy to the chest.

Stem Cell Treatments for Pulmonary Fibrosis and COPD. Pulmonary Fibrosis and COPD and Stem Cell studies and protocols from the NIH:

Related Articles Stem cells and cell therapy approaches in lung biology and diseases. Transl Res. 2010 Sep;156(3):188-205 Authors: Sueblinvong V, Weiss DJ Abstract Cell-based therapies with embryonic or adult stem cells, including induced pluripotent stem cells, have emerged as potential novel approaches for several devastating and otherwise incurable lung diseases, including emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, and the acute respiratory distress syndrome. Although initial studies suggested engraftment of exogenously administered stem cells in lung, this is now generally felt to be a rare occurrence of uncertain physiologic significance. However, more recent studies have demonstrated paracrine effects of administered cells, including stimulation of angiogenesis and modulation of local inflammatory and immune responses in mouse lung disease models. Based on these studies and on safety and initial efficacy data from trials of adult stem cells in other diseases, groundbreaking clinical trials of cell-based therapy have been initiated for pulmonary hypertension and for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In parallel, the identity and role of endogenous lung progenitor cells in development and in repair from injury and potential contribution as lung cancer stem cells continue to be elucidated. Most recently, novel bioengineering approaches have been applied to develop functional lung tissue ex vivo. Advances in each of these areas will be described in this review with particular reference to animal models. PMID: 20801416 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Related Articles Rationale and emerging approaches for targeting lung repair and regeneration in the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Proc Am Thorac Soc. 2011 Aug;8(4):368-75 Authors: Rennard SI, Wachenfeldt Kv Abstract Lung repair and regeneration are appropriate therapeutic targets for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Abnormal repair results if fibrosis of the airways is a major contributor to fixed airflow limitation in airway disease. Inadequate repair in the face of tissue injury can contribute to the development of emphysema. With respect to the latter, acute exposure to cigarette smoke can impair repair responses of several cell types in the lung. Fibroblasts cultured from the lungs of patients with emphysema have persistent defects in repair that include modulation of extracellular matrix as well as production of growth factors that modulate other lung parenchymal cells. Some of the deficient repair functions appear to result from insensitivity to TGF-β and overproduction of prostaglandin E. Pharmacologic interventions targeting these pathways have the potential to at least partially reverse the abnormal repair. Alternate strategies that could modulate lung repair and regeneration could target resident or circulating stem/progenitor cells or potentially involve transplantation of new stem cells. Therapy directed at lung repair has the potential to restore lost lung function. In contrast to therapy designed to slow the progression of COPD, it may be much easier and less expensive to demonstrate efficacy for a therapy that restores lung function. PMID: 21816994 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Related Articles Mesenchymal stem cells protect cigarette smoke-damaged lung and pulmonary function partly via VEGF-VEGF receptors. J Cell Biochem. 2013 Feb;114(2):323-35 Authors: Guan XJ, Song L, Han FF, Cui ZL, Chen X, Guo XJ, Xu WG Abstract Progressive pulmonary inflammation and emphysema have been implicated in the progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), while current pharmacological treatments are not effective. Transplantation of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has been identified as one such possible strategy for treatment of lung diseases including acute lung injury (ALI) and pulmonary fibrosis. However, their role in COPD still requires further investigation. The aim of this study is to test the effect of administration of rat MSCs (rMSCs) on emphysema and pulmonary function. To accomplish this study, the rats were exposed to cigarette smoke (CS) for 11 weeks, followed by administration of rMSCs into the lungs. Here we show that rMSCs infusion mediates a down-regulation of pro-inflammatory mediators (TNF-α, IL-1β, MCP-1, and IL-6) and proteases (MMP9 and MMP12) in lung, an up-regulation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), VEGF receptor 2, and transforming growth factor (TGFβ-1), while reducing pulmonary cell apoptosis. More importantly, rMSCs administration improves emphysema and destructive pulmonary function induced by CS exposure. In vitro co-culture system study of human umbilical endothelial vein cells (EA.hy926) and human MSCs (hMSCs) provides the evidence that hMSCs mediates an anti-apoptosis effect, which partly depends on an up-regulation of VEGF. These findings suggest that MSCs have a therapeutic potential in emphysematous rats by suppressing the inflammatory response, excessive protease expression, and cell apoptosis, as well as up-regulating VEGF, VEGF receptor 2, and TGFβ-1. PMID: 22949406 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Related Articles The effect of age and emphysematous and fibrotic injury on the re-cellularization of de-cellularized lungs. Biomaterials. 2013 Apr;34(13):3256-69 Authors: Sokocevic D, Bonenfant NR, Wagner DE, Borg ZD, Lathrop MJ, Lam YW, Deng B, Desarno MJ, Ashikaga T, Loi R, Hoffman AM, Weiss DJ Abstract Use of de-cellularized cadaveric lungs as 3-dimensional scaffolds for ex vivo lung tissue generation offers a new potential therapeutic approach for clinical lung transplantation. However, it is likely that some of the available cadaveric human lungs may be from older donors or from donors with previously existing structural lung diseases such as emphysema or pulmonary fibrosis. It is not known whether these lungs will be suitable for either de-cellularization or re-cellularization. To investigate this, we assessed the effects of advanced age, representative emphysematous and fibrotic injuries, and the combination of advanced age and emphysematous injury and found significant differences both in histologic appearance and in the retention of extracellular matrix (ECM) and other proteins, as assessed by immunohistochemistry and mass spectrometry, between the different conditions. However, despite these differences, binding, retention and growth of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) over a 1-month period following intratracheal inoculation were similar between the different experimental conditions. In contrast, significant differences occurred in the growth of C10 mouse lung epithelial cells between the different conditions. Therefore, age, lung injury, and the cell type used for re-cellularization may significantly impact the usefulness of de-cellularized whole lungs for ex vivo lung tissue regeneration. PMID: 23384794 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Related Articles The potential for resident lung mesenchymal stem cells to promote functional tissue regeneration: understanding microenvironmental cues. Cells. 2012 Dec;1(4):874 Authors: Foronjy RF, Majka SM Abstract Tissue resident mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are important regulators of tissue repair or regeneration, fibrosis, inflammation, angiogenesis and tumor formation. Bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) and endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) are currently being considered and tested in clinical trials as a potential therapy in patients with such inflammatory lung diseases including, but not limited to, chronic lung disease, pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), pulmonary fibrosis (PF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)/emphysema and asthma. However, our current understanding of tissue resident lung MSCs remains limited. This review addresses how environmental cues impact on the phenotype and function of this endogenous stem cell pool. In addition, it examines how these local factors influence the efficacy of cell-based treatments for lung diseases. PMID: 23626909 [PubMed]
Related Articles Mesenchymal stem cell therapy in lung disorders: pathogenesis of lung diseases and mechanism of action of mesenchymal stem cell. Exp Lung Res. 2013 Oct;39(8):315-27 Authors: Inamdar AC, Inamdar AA Abstract Lung disorders such as asthma, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD), and interstitial lung disease (ILD) show a few common threads of pathogenic mechanisms: inflammation, aberrant immune activity, infection, and fibrosis. Currently no modes of effective treatment are available for ILD or emphysema. Being anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, and regenerative in nature, the administration of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has shown the capacity to control immune dysfunction and inflammation in the lung. The intravenous infusion of MSCs, the common mode of delivery, is followed by their entrapment in lung vasculature before MSCs reach to other organ systems thus indicating the feasible and promising approach of MSCs therapy for lung diseases. In this review, we discuss the mechanistic basis for MSCs therapy for asthma, ARDS, COPD, and ILD. PMID: 23992090 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Related Articles Phase I clinical trial of cell therapy in patients with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: follow-up of up to 3 years. Rev Bras Hematol Hemoter. 2013;35(5):352-7 Authors: Stessuk T, Ruiz MA, Greco OT, Bilaqui A, Ribeiro-Paes MJ, Ribeiro-Paes JT Abstract BACKGROUND: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a major inflammatory disease of the airways and an enormous therapeutic challenge. Within the spectrum of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary emphysema is characterized by the destruction of the alveolar walls with an increase in the air spaces distal to the terminal bronchioles but without significant pulmonary fibrosis. Therapeutic options are limited and palliative since they are unable to promote morphological and functional regeneration of the alveolar tissue. In this context, new therapeutic approaches, such as cell therapy with adult stem cells, are being evaluated. OBJECTIVE: This article aims to describe the follow-up of up to 3 years after the beginning of a phase I clinical trial and discuss the spirometry parameters achieved by patients with advanced pulmonary emphysema treated with bone marrow mononuclear cells. METHODS: Four patients with advanced pulmonary emphysema were submitted to autologous infusion of bone marrow mononuclear cells. Follow-ups were performed by spirometry up to 3 years after the procedure. RESULTS: The results showed that autologous cell therapy in patients having chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a safe procedure and free of adverse effects. There was an improvement in laboratory parameters (spirometry) and a slowing down in the process of pathological degeneration. Also, patients reported improvements in the clinical condition and quality of life. CONCLUSIONS: Despite being in the initial stage and in spite of the small sample, the results of the clinical protocol of cell therapy in advanced pulmonary emphysema as proposed in this study, open new therapeutic perspectives in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It is worth emphasizing that this study corresponds to the first study in the literature that reports a change in the natural history of pulmonary emphysema after the use of cell therapy with a pool of bone marrow mononuclear cells. PMID: 24255620 [PubMed]
Related Articles Cell-based therapy in lung regenerative medicine. Regen Med Res. 2014 Dec;2(1):7 Authors: Yang J, Jia Z Abstract Chronic lung diseases are becoming a leading cause of death worldwide. There are few effective treatments for those patients and less choices to prevent the exacerbation or even reverse the progress of the diseases. Over the past decade, cell-based therapies using stem cells to regenerate lung tissue have experienced a rapid growth in a variety of animal models for distinct lung diseases. This novel approach offers great promise for the treatment of several devastating and incurable lung diseases, including emphysema, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, and the acute respiratory distress syndrome. In this review, we provide a concise summary of the current knowledge on the attributes of endogenous lung epithelial stem/progenitor cells (EpiSPCs), mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) in both animal models and translational studies. We also describe the promise and challenges of tissue bioengineering in lung regenerative medicine. The therapeutic potential of MSCs is further discussed in IPF and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD). PMID: 25984335 [PubMed]
Related Articles Human mesenchymal stromal cells exert HGF dependent cytoprotective effects in a human relevant pre-clinical model of COPD. Sci Rep. 2016 12 06;6:38207 Authors: Kennelly H, Mahon BP, English K Abstract Bone-marrow derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) have potent immunomodulatory and tissue reparative properties, which may be beneficial in the treatment of inflammatory diseases such as COPD. This study examined the mechanisms by which human MSCs protect against elastase induced emphysema. Using a novel human relevant pre-clinical model of emphysema the efficacy of human MSC therapy and optimal cell dose were investigated. Protective effects were examined in the lung through histological examination. Further in vivo experiments examined the reparative abilities of MSCs after tissue damage was established and the role played by soluble factors secreted by MSCs. The mechanism of MSC action was determined in using shRNA gene knockdown. Human MSC therapy and MSC conditioned media exerted significant cytoprotective effects when administered early at the onset of the disease. These protective effects were due to significant anti-inflammatory, anti-fibrotic and anti-apoptotic mechanisms, mediated in part through MSC production of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). When MSC administration was delayed, significant protection of the lung architecture was observed but this was less extensive. MSC cell therapy was more effective than MSC conditioned medium in this emphysema model. PMID: 27922052 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Related Articles Mesenchymal Stem Cell Administration in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: State of the Science. Stem Cells Int. 2017;2017:8916570 Authors: Cheng SL, Lin CH, Yao CL Abstract Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have chronic, irreversible airway inflammation; currently, there is no effective or curative treatment and the main goals of COPD management are to mitigate symptoms and improve patients' quality of life. Stem cell based therapy offers a promising therapeutic approach that has shown potential in diverse degenerative lung diseases. Preclinical studies have demonstrated encouraging outcomes of mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs) therapy for lung disorders including emphysema, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, fibrosis, and acute respiratory distress syndrome. This review summarizes available data on 15 studies currently registered by the ClinicalTrials.gov repository, which used different stem cell therapy protocols for COPD; these included bone marrow mononuclear cells (BMMCs), bone marrow-derived MSCs, adipose-derived stem/stromal cells (ADSCs), and adipose-derived MSCs. Published results of three trials indicate that administering BMMCs or MSCs in the setting of degenerative lung disease is safe and may improve patients' condition and quality of life; however, larger-scale studies are needed to evaluate efficacy. Results of another completed trial (NCT01872624) are not yet published, and eleven other studies are ongoing; these include MSCs therapy in emphysema, several studies of ADSCs in COPD, another in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and plerixafor mobilization of CD117 stem cells to peripheral blood. PMID: 28303154 [PubMed]
Related Articles Diagnostic utility of telomere length testing in a hospital-based setting. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 03 06;115(10):E2358-E2365 Authors: Alder JK, Hanumanthu VS, Strong MA, DeZern AE, Stanley SE, Takemoto CM, Danilova L, Applegate CD, Bolton SG, Mohr DW, Brodsky RA, Casella JF, Greider CW, Jackson JB, Armanios M Abstract Telomere length (TL) predicts the onset of cellular senescence in vitro but the diagnostic utility of TL measurement in clinical settings is not fully known. We tested the value of TL measurement by flow cytometry and FISH (flowFISH) in patients with mutations in telomerase and telomere maintenance genes. TL had a discrete and reproducible normal range with definable upper and lower boundaries. While TL above the 50th age-adjusted percentile had a 100% negative predictive value for clinically relevant mutations, the lower threshold in mutation carriers was age-dependent, and adult mutation carriers often overlapped with the lowest decile of controls. The extent of telomere shortening correlated with the age at diagnosis as well as the short telomere syndrome phenotype. Extremely short TL caused bone marrow failure and immunodeficiency in children and young adults, while milder defects manifested as pulmonary fibrosis-emphysema in adults. We prospectively examined whether TL altered treatment decisions for newly diagnosed idiopathic bone marrow failure patients and found abnormally short TL enriched for patients with mutations in some inherited bone marrow failure genes, such as RUNX1, in addition to telomerase and telomere maintenance genes. The result was actionable, altering the choice of treatment regimen and/or hematopoietic stem cell donor in one-fourth of the cases (9 of 38, 24%). We conclude that TL measurement by flowFISH, when used for targeted clinical indications and in limited settings, can influence treatment decisions in ways that improve outcome. PMID: 29463756 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Related Articles Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency: outstanding questions and future directions. Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2018 07 11;13(1):114 Authors: Torres-Durán M, Lopez-Campos JL, Barrecheguren M, Miravitlles M, Martinez-Delgado B, Castillo S, Escribano A, Baloira A, Navarro-Garcia MM, Pellicer D, Bañuls L, Magallón M, Casas F, Dasí F Abstract BACKGROUND: Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) is a rare hereditary condition that leads to decreased circulating alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) levels, significantly increasing the risk of serious lung and/or liver disease in children and adults, in which some aspects remain unresolved. METHODS: In this review, we summarise and update current knowledge on alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency in order to identify and discuss areas of controversy and formulate questions that need further research. RESULTS: 1) AATD is a highly underdiagnosed condition. Over 120,000 European individuals are estimated to have severe AATD and more than 90% of them are underdiagnosed. CONCLUSIONS: 2) Several clinical and etiological aspects of the disease are yet to be resolved. New strategies for early detection and biomarkers for patient outcome prediction are needed to reduce morbidity and mortality in these patients; 3) Augmentation therapy is the only specific approved therapy that has shown clinical efficacy in delaying the progression of emphysema. Regrettably, some countries reject registration and reimbursement for this treatment because of the lack of larger randomised, placebo-controlled trials. 4) Alternative strategies are currently being investigated, including the use of gene therapy or induced pluripotent stem cells, and non-augmentation strategies to prevent AAT polymerisation inside hepatocytes. PMID: 29996870 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Quick Contact Form