Research scientists at the UCLA have discovered a novel type of pulmonary stem cell. The newly found stem cells could potentially be used to repair and regenerate large airways that have suffered damage of one sort or other. These cells will also play a significant part in making immunity from environmental toxins and infectious diseases much stronger.
Mucous is secreted by various parts of the body; this is done as a method of airway clearance and to protect against infection. Specialised glands within the airways are responsible for mucous secretion, but scientists are yet to comprehend the way the body regulates the levels of mucous produced by these specialised cells within the airways. More data concerning the workings of the aforementioned mucous secreting specialised cells is thought to be oncoming thanks to the discovery of the new pulmonary stem cells.
Scientists conducting research at the UCLA's 'Eli and Edythe Broad Centre of Regenerative Medicines and Stem Cell Research' made a recent significant finding when they discovered the progenitor cell that is responsible for the formation of the mucous gland and the repair of the epithelial linings within the lungs. The researchers believe that this discovery is 'of significant importance' in the fields of lung regeneration.
The findings of this study were made available on the twenty seventh of June 2011. The newly found stem cells have been names 'sub mucosal gland duct stem cells' by the first author of this study, postdoctoral scholar in Gompert's lab, Ahmed Hegab. Hegab says he thinks the name is appropriate because the stem cells are located within the ducts where mucous secretion occurs. Gompert and Hegab have both been conducting extensive studies in pulmonary stem cells for a very long period of years; they have since come up with a model that seeks to explain the way in which regeneration of the airways occurs. The pair is also responsible for this discovery.
It is claimed by this study that the discovery of the aforementioned stem cells could potentially turn out to be a major leap forward in the path to identify new therapeutic targets for the prevention of pulmonary disease, this might lead to cell based therapies being discovered in the not too distant future.