Boston - The Center for Regenerative Medicine (CReM) at Boston University and Boston Medical Center has engineered two new categories of lung epithelial cells in vitro using pluripotent stem cells.

Diseases affecting the lung, including emphysema, cystic fibrosis, acute respiratory distress syndrome and pulmonary fibrosis, cause considerable morbidity and mortality in the US.

However, there are not many treatment options available for those diseases, in part due to the limited availability of human lung cells for research.

Creating human lung epithelial cells in the lab has been a challenge, and lineage-specific reporters, which indicate each cell's specific type, are key to understanding lung epithelial stem cell development.

CReM's pioneering research using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which self-renew indefinitely as undifferentiated cells that become specific adult cell types, has helped create an inexhaustible source of disease- or patient-specific stem cells.

"These findings help us stay true to our mission of Open Source sharing of datasets, cells, and protocols with our colleagues who are dedicated to applying these tools to one day help patients," said senior author Darrell Kotton, MD, the David C. Seldin Professor of Medicine at BU School of Medicine and Director of the CReM of Boston University and Boston Medical Center.

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