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UCLA stem cell scientists discover new airway stem cell
Date:6/27/2011

ells for years, and created a model of repair of the airways in order to identify the location of the stem cells.

Once Gomperts and her team proved that the lung stem cells existed and found where they "lived," they set out to isolate them and confirm that they could self-renew, or grow more of themselves, and differentiate, turn into the cells that make up the mucus glands and surface epithelium. They created model systems in which these isolated stem cells did, in fact, make mucus glands with all the types of cells required to make mucus and repair the surface barrier of the large airways.

"Our ability to identify the stem cells and their regenerative ability has implications for the possible identification of novel therapeutic targets for airway diseases and potential cell-based therapies in the future," the study states.

The stem cells also may play a role in tumor initiation in lung cancer when the repair goes awry, although further study is needed to confirm this, said Gomperts, who is also a member of UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center.


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Contact: Kim Irwin
kirwin@mednet.ucla.edu
310-206-2805
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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