What is Pulmonary Fibrosis?
Pulmonary Fibrosis is a degenerative condition that occurs when the tissue around the air sacs, or alveoli, in your lungs becomes damaged and scarred. This thick, stiff scar tissue interferes with your lungs’ ability to function properly. As the condition worsens, it causes shortness of breath that becomes progressively more pronounced, as well as coughing, fatigue, and weight loss.
A range of factors can cause the tissue scarring that leads to pulmonary fibrosis, including airborne toxins, lung conditions such as Tuberculosis or Pneumonia, and radiation; however, it is often difficult for doctors to pinpoint the exact cause. The lung damage that results from this condition can’t be undone, but there are therapies and medications that can help ease the symptoms and lead to a better quality of life.
How can Celltex stem cell therapy help?
The mechanism of Mesenchymal Stem Cell (MSC) therapy for pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) still remains unclear. MSCs may home to (or become entrapped within) injury sites in the lungs after intravenous infusion. Multiple research labs have published scientific papers indicating that in the inflammatory microenvironment, MSCs release multiple anti-inflammatory factors, which may inhibit inflammation through a paracrine signaling pathway, inhibit fibrosis formation, and decrease cell apoptosis. In addition, MSCs release growth factors that may trigger resident epithelial cell repair and regeneration, resulting in restoration of lung function.
Additionally, multiple pre-clinical studies have demonstrated that MSCs can help reduce fibrosis if administered soon after disease onset. Specifically, reduced inflammation and collagen deposition has been observed. While originally it was considered that this was due to direct engraftment of administered cells into the lung, recent studies have highlighted the contribution of paracrine factures, including extracellular vesicles (exosomes), as the main mechanism through which MSCs exert their therapeutic effect. It is important to note that most pre-clinical studies in animals have focused on the acute inflammatory phase, whereas a stem cell therapy for patients would be most relevant if it targeted the chronic phase. Thus, more studies are required to determine the effect of stem cells on the chronic phase of the disease. Transplantation of MSCs in humans for a variety of conditions has, to date, been generally well tolerated.