Tongji University team achieves the world’s first human lung regeneration
- Mar 29, 2018 -

Shanghai scholars have achieved the first human lung regeneration in history, which also indicates that the regeneration of the body's own internal organs is gradually moving from the laboratory to the clinic.

Tongji University announced on the 8th that the Tongji University School of Medicine Professor Zuo Wei team took the lead in the international use of adult lung and lung stem cell transplantation surgery, in the clinical success of lung regeneration.

In the study, dozens of stem cells taken from the bronchial brush of the patient were expanded tens of millions of times in vitro and transplanted to the lesion site of the patient's lungs. After 3 to 6 months, these stem cells gradually formed new alveoli and bronchi. The structure, in turn, replaces the damaged tissue.

Recently, this major breakthrough in the field of stem cell regenerative medicine was published as a cover article in the latest issue of Protein & Cell.

In the commentary issued during the same period, Prof. Jun Wu from the Medical Center of Texas, USA, and Prof. Liu Guanghui from the Institute of Biophysics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences commented on this achievement: “The basic and clinical data presented by the Institute are of great value, demonstrating regenerative medicine. Exciting prospects."

At present, all kinds of lung diseases in China are in a state of high incidence. Once the lung tissue is destroyed and fibrosis occurs, the condition is often sustained and cannot be reversed. However, traditional drugs can only slow down the progression of fibrosis.

Stem cells are a special type of cells that have the ability to regenerate tissue. Since the beginning of this century, as stem cell research has gradually become a hot topic in global medical research, lung stem cell transplantation has become the last hope of these patients.

While working abroad, Zuo Wei invented the expansion and transplantation of lung stem cells. The related results were published in the journal Nature, which has caused widespread concern in the academic community. In 2015, Zuowei joined Tongji University as a national youth “Thousand Talents Program” expert and “Cheung Kong Scholar” to continue the previous research.

The team developed lung stem cells that had been transplanted into damaged lungs of mice. Observations three weeks after transplantation revealed that mice's pulmonary fibrotic lesions were replaced by new born human alveoli and the lungs of mice became very healthy. It is almost a "rebirth".

The researchers also found that only adult stem cells from the lungs of human lungs have the function of regenerating lungs, and stem cells from other parts of the lungs do not have the function of regenerating lung tissue.

The success of a series of animal experiments has attracted close attention from respiratory doctors and patients with lung diseases. They are eager to apply this new lung stem cell transplantation and regeneration technology as soon as possible to the clinic. After sufficient preliminary preparations and long-term observations, the review was approved by the hospital's academic and ethical experts committee, and the first patients were enrolled in the early 2016. The world was synchronised with the Eastern Hospital of Tongji University and the Southwest Hospital Affiliated to PLA Military Medical University. The first stem cell-based lung regeneration clinical trial.

In March 2017, Zuowei teamed up with the team of Dongfang Hospital of Tongji University for the “Clinical Study on the Treatment of Interstitial Lung Disease by Transplantation of Autologous Bronchial Basal Cells (Pulmonary Stem Cells)” and was approved as National Health Planning Commission and Food and Drug Administration. The first batch of stem cell clinical research projects.

The paper describes two patients with bronchiectasis who first received autologous lung stem cell transplantation. The two patients had been transplanted for more than a year and a half since the publication of the paper. One year after transplantation, both patients reported improvements in cough, sputum, and asthma.

CT imaging showed that one of the patient's bronchiectasis showed local repair status after one year. The lung function test showed that the transplanted stem cells did not improve their lung function after one month, and the lung function began to improve after waiting for three months. It stays until one year later.

Professor Dai Xiaotian, who is the chief clinical researcher and the Department of Respiratory Medicine of Southwestern Hospital, found that overall, the stem cell transplantation effect was very successful. "Especially we can observe the reversal of lung function in patients after treatment, which is an effect that cannot be achieved with traditional treatment methods."

Xu Jinfu, director of the Department of Respiratory Medicine at the Shanghai Pulmonary Hospital, Tongji University, believes that many major lung diseases are currently lacking effective treatment methods. The lung regeneration technology for the team on the left is very magical and has very good clinical prospects.

Zuo Wei told reporters that up to now there have been more than 80 clinical lung stem cell transplants involving bronchiectasis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and interstitial lung disease, and it is planned to initiate the IND process for cell therapy products in 2018. .

The left team currently conducts multi-center cooperation research with several stem cell registration medical institutions. Experts including academician Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory medicine expert, have high hopes for the in-depth development of this project.

Zhang Jun, secretary of the Party Committee of Tongji University School of Medicine, said that "stem cells and regenerative medicine" is the most important thing in the development of Tongji medical science in recent years. This achievement by the team of Professor Zuo Wei is one of the most important achievements made by Tongji University in stem cell and transformation research in recent years.

Tongji University also adopted “transformation medical research” as a major strategy for the new round of development of Tongji Medical Sciences. It encourages scientists with the best basic research in medical schools and life sciences and technology colleges to form “partners with the relevant clinical experts of affiliated hospitals. "Type" research team tackles major clinical problems.

It is reported that in 2010, Tongji University established the Institute of Advanced Translational Medicine, and established a translational medicine center at each affiliated hospital to consolidate the four major directions. One of them is the Stem Cell Research Center, which has now become the Shanghai Science and Innovation Center. important parts of.