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article imageHuman stem cells used to create lung tissue

By Tim Sandle     Dec 7, 2013 in Science
Researchers have created functioning human lung cells from stem cells. This is the first time this process has been undertaken successfully.
Human stem cells have been converted into functioning lung cells for the first time. The objective behind the research was to create better models for studying lung diseases, ways to test potential drugs and, perhaps, the creation of tissue for lung transplants.
The research was led by Dr. Hans-Willem Snoeck, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Columbia University in New York. The development of lung tissue was made possible when the scientists discovered chemical signals capable of transforming two types of stem cells human embryonic stem cells, according to Live Science.
Stem cells are biological cells found in all multicellular organisms. The cells can differentiate into diverse specialized cell types and can self-renew to produce more stem cells. In mammals, there are two broad types of stem cells: embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells, which are found in various tissues.
The creation of lung tissue represents a new area for stem cell research. Scientists have previously converted stem cells into cells of the heart, intestine, liver, nerves and pancreas.
The findings have been reported in the journal Nature Biotechnology.
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