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Lungs clothed in fresh cells offer new hope for transplant patients
Date:2/1/2012

dy, including cardiac, muscle, neuron and the variety of cell types making up a functioning lung. Multipotent stem cells can give rise to a more limited number of lineages than pluripotent stem cells, but they are easier to obtain from patients and involve less downstream risks.

The working hypothesis of this study is that when stem cells are applied to the decellularized lung scaffolding, they take up residence throughout the structure, differentiating into the appropriate tissue and vasculature of a normal lung. It is believed that subtle chemical as well as mechanical forces direct this metamorphosis.

As Nickerson explains, this process of stem cell differentiation and rebuilding is assisted by placing the cells in a rotating wall bioreactora device that gently circulates fluid and oxygen through the cells in such a way as to mimic conditions during fetal development. Nickerson hypothesizes that the decellularized scaffolding subjected to this environment will help guide the stem cells adhering to this template to multiply and mature into the cell types essential for a functioning lung. Because the replacement organ is constructed with the recipient's own cells, issues of immune rejection are minimal.

As the lungs under study are recellularized, they can be carefully evaluated in terms of biomechanics, vascular perfusion and normal lung phenotype, including the production of surfactantslipoproteins essential for proper functioning of pulmonary alveoli. To accomplish the ambitious goals of the project, Nickerson and research assistant scientists in her laboratory, Aurlie Crabb and Shameema Sarker, are part of a multidisciplinary team, which includes experts in lung biology, stem cells and regenerative medicine, thoracic surgery and bioengineering.

In addition to the NIH grant, work related to the lung recellularization project was honored as a recipient of the 2010 ASU/Mayo Clinic Seed Grant program. A review committee, made
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Contact: Joseph Caspermeyer
Joseph.Caspermeyer@asu.edu
Arizona State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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