Umbilical stem cells may aid lung research

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have derived stem cells from umbilical cord blood that can be differentiated into lung cells. It is the first time human stem cells have been differentiated into a cell called the Type II Alveolar, which helps stabilize the lungs while breathing.

Professor David McKenna, Assistant Professor of Lab Medicine and Pathology and Assistant Medical Director of the Clinical Cell Therapy lab at the University, said that the technology developed with the biotech company BioE could be used to develop a human lung model for research purposes and could lead to treating respiratory conditions, such as emphysema and pulmonary fibrosis.

The research was presented at the International Society for Cellular Therapy meeting in Berlin last week.

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