Stem cell therapy for pulmonary fibrosis.
When you do your research, you may see average survival is between three to five years. This number is an average. There are patients who live less than three years after diagnosis, and others who live much longer
The lung scarring that occurs in pulmonary fibrosis can’t be reversed, and no current treatment has proved effective in stopping progression of the disease. Some treatments may improve symptoms temporarily or slow the disease’s progression. Others may help improve quality of life.
As the condition progresses, a person with pulmonary fibrosis is at risk of other health complications including heart attack or failure, stroke, pulmonary embolism, and other lung diseases and infections.
Scientists have been studying the alternative possibility of using stem cells to treat IPF and other lung fibrosis diseases. Stem cells are immature cells that can proliferate and turn into adult cells in order to, for example, repair injuries. Some types of stem cells have anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrosis properties that make them particularly attractive as potential treatments for fibrosis diseases.
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are now being investigated to treat IPF due to their ability to potentially reduce inflammation in the lungs. Damage caused by inflammation can lead to scarring in the lungs, so reducing lung inflammation may be able to lessen further scarring.
A proof-of-concept, open-label Phase 1 clinical trial (NCT01385644), carried out at The Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane, Australia, aimed to determine whether MSC therapy was safe and feasible. The study enrolled eight IPF patients, who received either a high or low concentration of MSCs. Trial results, published in the journal Respirology, suggested that the therapy is feasible and both doses were well-tolerated, with only minor and short-term adverse effects. At six months after treatment, the patients showed no worsening in their condition.
A Phase 1 randomized and blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial, called AETHER (NCT02013700), enrolled 25 IPF patients at the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute at the University of Miami. The trial aimed to assess the safety of MSC therapy, and gain a preliminary idea of its efficacy over a 60-week period. Participants were randomly assigned a single dose of one of three concentrations of MSCs or to a placebo.
Published Clinical Citations
Barczyk, Marek, Matthias Schmidt, and Sabrina Mattoli. 2015. Stem Cell-Based Therapy in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Stem cell reviews, no. 4. doi:10.1007/s12015-015-9587-7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25896401.
Chambers, Daniel C, Debra Enever, Nina Ilic, Lisa Sparks, Kylie Whitelaw, John Ayres, Stephanie T Yerkovich, Dalia Khalil, Kerry M Atkinson, and Peter M A Hopkins. 2014. A phase 1b study of placenta-derived mesenchymal stromal cells in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Respirology (Carlton, Vic.), no. 7 (July 9). doi:10.1111/resp.12343. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25039426.
Ghadiri, Maliheh, Paul M Young, and Daniela Traini. 2015. Cell-based therapies for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) disease. Expert opinion on biological therapy, no. 3 (December 15). doi:10.1517/14712598.2016.1124085. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26593230.