Lung regeneration: steps toward clinical implementation and use

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Whole lung tissue engineering is a relatively new area of investigation. In a short time, however, the field has advanced quickly beyond proof of concept studies in rodents and now stands on the cusp of wide-spread scale up to large animal studies. Therefore, this technology is ever closer to being directly clinically relevant.

Recent findings

The main themes in the literature include refinement of the fundamental components of whole lung engineering and increasing effort to direct induced pluripotent stem cells and lung progenitor cells toward use in lung regeneration. There is also increasing need for and emphasis on functional evaluation in the lab and in vivo, and the use of all of these tools to construct and evaluate forthcoming clinically scaled engineered lung.

Summary

Ultimately, the goal of the research described herein is to create a useful clinical product. In the intermediate time, however, the tools described here may be employed to advance our knowledge of lung biology and the organ-specific regenerative capacity of lung stem and progenitor cells.

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