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New Stem Cell Found in Lung, May Offer Target for Regenerative Medicine

Newly identified stem cells in the lung that multiply rapidly after a pulmonary injury may offer an opportunity for innovative future treatments that harness the body’s ability to regenerate.

Writing today in the journal Nature, scientists describe cells that could become a new tool to treat lung diseases across the lifespan, from premature infants to the elderly.

Researchers from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania focused on the alveoli—tiny compartments in the lung in which gas exchange occurs, as oxygen is taken up by the blood and carbon dioxide is removed. First in mouse models, then in humans, the study team identified a new cell lineage, which they called alveolar epithelial progenitor (AEP) cells.

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