Stem Cells Show Promise for Sick Lungs

Cells injected in mouse tails 'recolonize' lungs in breakthrough research
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2007 4:27 AM CDT
This handout photo released by The Whitehead Institute shows naturally derived embryonic stem cells from mice. Scientists have long hoped to bypass the embryo procedure, and simply reprogram ordinary...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Scientists have successfully implanted stem cells into the lungs of mice in breakthrough research that could one day be used to develop new treatments for cancer patients or those suffering from major respiratory ailments. It's the first time stem cell research has focused on lungs because of the complex nature of the tissue, the BBC reports.

In the study, scientists injected lung cells grown from stem cells into the tails of mice, and the cells migrated directly to the lungs within two days. "Embryonic stem cells really do have the capacity to recolonize damaged lungs," said one of the researchers. Scientists cautioned, however, that it could be years before the technique can be tested on humans.