Help may be on its way for sufferers of lung fibrosis - a condition sometimes caused by exposure to asbestos but one that sometimes appears without any known stimulus.
There is limited treatment for lung fibrosis and sadly patients usually only live for three to five years after diagnosis of this extremely debilitating condition.
A new partnership between The University of Western Australia and stem cell and regenerative medicine company Cynata Therapeutics Ltd may change all that, with a study that will test the potential of CymerusTM mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in a pre-clinical model of the disease.
The study will be conducted at UWA's Centre for Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine, whose Director, Professor Geoff Laurent, said while adult tissues were a useful source of MSCs, other sources need to be explored.
"This study will examine the potential of MSCs derived using CymerusTM technology to prevent and reverse fibrosis in an animal model," he said.
The CymerusTM technology seeks to address a critical shortcoming in existing methods of production of MSCs for therapeutic use, which is the ability to achieve consistent and robust manufacture at commercial scale. The CymerusTM platform provides a source of MSCs that is independent of donor limitations and provides a potential "off-the-shelf" stem cell product for therapeutic product use.
The new partnership will make an important contribution to the very encouraging safety and efficacy data being generated around the world that shows the potential utility of MSCs to ameliorate lung diseases and lung injury, as well as in many other clinical settings.