Catalyst Awardee

Project Description

Bingfang Zhang, PhD | Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences
Competition Sponsor:
 Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences
Awardee Year: 2023

In chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, allogeneic lung transplantation, there are no effective treatments for acute lung epithelia damage. Cell therapy provide a novel insight into therapeutic approaches. However, the identified progenitors in lung cannot be expanded in large-scale in vitro and effectively drive lung regeneration in vivo. Now, we have developed a culture system for mouse multipotent adult lung progenitors, the cells can be expanded more than 35 generations and then be used to promote alveolar regeneration efficiently in pulmonary fibrosis. In this project, we will optimize the cell-culture system to make it more suitable for the expansion of human lung stem cells, which will improve clinical therapies to treat patients suffering from the burden of lung diseases, such as pulmonary fibrosis.
Organoids became outstanding models to study the pathogenic mechanism of organs, as well as clinical drugs screening. Currently, lung organoids are mainly derived from iPSCs, and the organoid size is small. Meanwhile, a respiratory organoid system with bipotential differentiation of the airway and alveolar epithelium remains elusive. Therefore, organoids cannot simulate the development process and homeostasis of the lung in vivo effectively. Now, we can construct tracheal organoids with branching morphogenesis and alveolar organoids with mature alveolar function. We will optimize the organoids culture system to build functional organoids that can highly mimic lung organs in vivo, which will be useful for studying the pathogenic mechanism of respiratory organs, as well as for clinical drug screening and drug toxicity evaluation.

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