Drug to repair pulmonary alveoli
With an international research team, prof.dr. Reinoud Gosens focusses on finding an answer to the question: why don’t damaged alveoli in COPD patients recover? The findings of the research project have recently been published in the renowned scientific journal Science Advances. The project, called 'Journey to the dark side of the lung' (‘Ontdekkingsreis naar de donkere kant van de long’) is important in the search for a treatment that will make permanent recovery of damaged lung tissue in COPD possible. Working together internationally, the researchers were able to pool their knowledge, making the results available more quickly.
The research is called 'Journey to the dark side of the lung' (‘Op ontdekkingsreis naar de donkere kant van de long’). If this side of the lung reveals its secret, we will be closer to the dream that countless people with a lung disease hold: no more shortness of breath and -hopefully- permanent recovery of damaged lung tissue. Working together internationally, the researchers were able to pool their knowledge, making the results available more quickly.
The lungs contain 'precursor cells'. These are cells that resemble stem cells. Together with other lung cells, they ensure the recovery of lung tissue after damage. In people with COPD, the growth factors, which stimulate the progenitor cells to repair, do not work well enough. That is why it is important that new drugs are introduced which ensure that lung tissue recovers from damage.
Prof.dr. Reinoud Gosens (Groningen University) and his team used data from previous research to find out how the genes in the lungs of people with COPD behave. This allowed them to look for possible drugs that they then tested on lab-grown lung tissue (pieces of 'mini-lung'). This yielded interesting results. Because as it turned out: two drugs (prostaglandin E2 and prostaglandin I2) caused the cells in the 'mini-lung' to grow. Furthermore, cigarette smoke was found to have no harmful effect on the precursor cells after administration of the drugs.
These research results are also particularly interesting because the two drugs are already available. In the future, the researchers want to do follow-up research into the effectiveness of these drugs, especially during a COPD lung attack. Longfonds supports this research. Read article in Science Advances.