(ORDO NEWS) — Researchers in the Netherlands have found that two drugs in clinical trials are able to restore the regeneration process of damaged lungs in mice. Experts believe that they can be used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, including in humans.
Researchers have found that certain drugs can repair lung tissue damaged by smoking. So far, experiments have only been carried out on mice, but it is possible that drugs can help humans as well.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a disease that makes it difficult for air to pass through the airways. This is due to an abnormal inflammatory response of lung tissues to irritation by various pathogenic particles and gases. Often COPD develops due to smoking.
What is COPD
COPD is the third leading cause of death, just behind heart disease and stroke. And in addition to smoking, air pollution and genetics can cause disease, so, in fact, no one is immune from this.
“The problem with COPD right now is that we don’t have a way to prevent the disease from progressing and lung function from falling.
We can only manage the symptoms, for example, with anti-inflammatory drugs or inhaled bronchodilators that relax the lung muscles and widen the airways,” says Reinu Gosens from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, one of the authors of the new study.
COPD damages the cells that are responsible for repairing the lining of the lungs, so when inflammation occurs, the body cannot stop it.
Scientists have long been trying to find a solution that would stop the development of the disease – for example, they experimented with invasive cell therapy, in which stem cells are transplanted, which can create new regenerating cells.
But researchers at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands have discovered a new COPD treatment that relies on existing and approved drugs.
Scientists have noticed that iloprost, which is used to treat high blood pressure in the pulmonary arteries, and misoprostol, which is used to treat stomach ulcers, are able to restore regenerating cells in the lungs.
To test their hypothesis, the experts conducted an experiment on mice that were exposed to cigarette smoke for four months.
It turned out that both drugs, apparently, completely restore the regenerative capacity of cells. Further research will show if these drugs can be used to treat COPD in humans.
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