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Cell & Gene Therapy Insights

Cell & Gene Therapy Insights

Cell secretomes and exosomes promote lung repair in rodents

Researchers at the North Carolina State University have provided evidence to demonstrate the potential of lung stem cell secretions, specifically exosomes and secretomes, in repairing lung injuries in rodent models.

Pulmonary fibrosis is a fatal form of lung disease where persistent injury results in scar tissue formation. Over time, fibrosis thickens, and lungs lose the ability to supply cells with the needed oxygen. There is no effective therapy for pulmonary fibrosis and lung transplant is the only available option for patients suffering from this disease.

Several treatment strategies, including cell-based therapies, are being tested for pulmonary disease. Although stem cells have beneficial effects, their clinical applications face many challenges, including safety and stability concerns. An alternative to stem cells is the use of secretions derived from the stem cells as it’s been proven that the therapeutic benefits rendered by stem cells are primarily through these secretions.

In the present study published in Nature Communications, Dr Ke Cheng and team at the Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences of North Carolina State University investigated whether the secretions from lung cell spheroids could treat lung injury and fibrosis in animal models of the disease. Specifically, they tested secretomes and exosomes produced from the lung cell spheroids.

Results showed that by letting the animals inhale exosomes and secretomes attenuated and resolved bleomycin- and silica-induced fibrosis in mice. This was caused by reestablishing normal alveolar structure and decreasing both collagen accumulation and myofibroblast proliferation. In addition, the study also showed that exosomes and secretomes derived from the lung cell spheroids displayed higher therapeutic benefits than the secretomes derived mesenchymal stem cells.

Findings from the present study thus provide early evidence to show that an inhalation therapy of secretome and exosome could provide therapeutic potential for lung regeneration in pulmonary fibrosis.

Dr Cheng commented: “This work shows that lung spheroid cell secretome and exosomes are more effective than their mesenchymal stem cells counterparts in decreasing fibrotic tissue and inflammation in damaged lung tissue. Hopefully we are taking our first steps toward an efficient, non-invasive and cost-effective way to repair damaged lungs. Given the therapy’s effectiveness in multiple models of lung fibrosis and inflammation, we are planning to expand the test into more pulmonary diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), acute respiratory distress syndrome, and pulmonary hypertension.”

Source: Inhalation of lung spheroid cell secretome and exosomes promotes lung repair in pulmonary fibrosis. Phuong-Uyen CD et al., Nature Communications, February 2020. DOI

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