The most recent effort to find a treatment for those suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other debilitating lung conditions has shown success in repairing lung tissue in preliminary animal testing. According to an article in Medical Xpress, cardiovascular researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have successfully used a protein known as MG53 to treat acute and chronic lung cell injury.
The study compared control animals that lacked MG53 to those treated with the genetically human form of MG53. The former were more susceptible to lung injury while animals treated with the protein showed signs of lung cell protection.
Jianjie Ma, a professor and researcher in Ohio State's Department of Surgery and the Dorothy M. Davis Heart & Lung Research Institute, first identified MG53 in 2008. He has since focused his energy on using this cell biology to treat and repair lung injuries in a variety of forms – including COPD.
According to the American Lung Association, approximately 36 million Americans live with some form of chronic lung disease, and cite the potential benefits from a protein therapy that targets cell repair.
Ma emphasizes the importance continuing research, saying MG53, if found to work in humans, “could be used prior to surgeries to prevent damage and promote healing. It could be used in an emergency department, by paramedics or on the battlefield to treat traumatic injuries. We are hopeful as we now work to begin our clinical trials.”
Ma adds that “the implications for patient care could be quite significant; it could prevent and repair heart and lung cell damage,” a welcome possible treatment for those suffering from the lung damage associated with COPD.