Adult Stem Cell Therapy Blog

Stem Cells & SARS

Friday, June 16, 2006 - Stem Cell Guru

Finally this week, a group of researchers in Taiwan have demonstrated that adult lung stem cells may play a key role in the SARS epidemics.

The study showed the lung stem cells, while not easily spotted, were an important target of SARS viruses when attacking the lungs. During the 2003 SARS epidemics, Dr. John Yu, the leader of the stem cell program at the Genomics Research Center of Academia Sinica in Taipei, Taiwan, witnessed first hand the SARS outbreak and noticed a lag time between the peak virus load in SARS patients and the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). He speculated that the lag time may reflect the duration of a stem cell's regenerative cycle to repair lung damage.

With the study of SARS infected lung tissues by Yu's team, supporting proof was finally made. The team grew lung cells in vitro and noticed only one unique cell population was infected by SARS viruses. Therefore, the researchers concluded that it was likely these cells that are targeted specifically by SARS viruses are the pulmonary stem progenitor cells.

The discovery has opened a door for future manipulation of lung stem cells in cellular therapy of ARDS.

More details of this story can be found here on the Biotech East website.


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