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Mesenchymal stromal cells: a novel therapy for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease?
  1. Winifred Broekman1,
  2. Padmini P S J Khedoe1,
  3. Koen Schepers2,
  4. Helene Roelofs2,
  5. Jan Stolk1,
  6. Pieter S Hiemstra1
  1. 1Department of Pulmonology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Immunohematology and Blood Transfusion, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Winifred Broekman, Department of Pulmonology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden 2333 ZA, The Netherlands; w.broekman{at}


COPD is characterised by tissue destruction and inflammation. Given the lack of curative treatments and the progressive nature of the disease, new treatments for COPD are highly relevant. In vitro cell culture and animal studies have demonstrated that mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) have the capacity to modify immune responses and to enhance tissue repair. These properties of MSCs provided a rationale to investigate their potential for treatment of a variety of diseases, including COPD. Preclinical models support the hypothesis that MSCs may have clinical efficacy in COPD. However, although clinical trials have demonstrated the safety of MSC treatment, thus far they have not provided evidence for MSC efficacy in the treatment of COPD. In this review, we discuss the rationale for MSC-based cell therapy in COPD, the main findings from in vitro and in vivo preclinical COPD model studies, clinical trials in patients with COPD and directions for further research.

  • copd pathology
  • emphysema
  • innate immunity
  • lung proteases

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  • Contributors All authors contributed in writing of the manuscript and/or have provided useful comments and additional text to improve the manuscript. Design and concept: WB, JS, PSH. Drafting of the manuscript: WB, PPSJ, PSH. Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: all authors.

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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