A team of scientists at the Center for Regenerative Medicine at the Boston School of Medicine has succeeded in obtaining functional type II pneumocytes  from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS). This work, which was published in the Cell Stem Cell journal, will “facilitate the study of a variety of related lung disorders” and should lead to the “development of treatments responding to the mechanisms of these conditions which are also incurable“. Furthermore, scientists have “succeeded in genetically correcting the induced pluripotent stem cells of a child with surfactant mutation causing respiratory distress“. They reprogrammed the skin cells of a sick newborn infant with iPS cells. In these cells, they corrected the mutated gene using CRISPR, and then differentiated iPS cell into type II pneumocytes, which were then functional. In future, the team intends to “assemble these recently generated cells to form complex 3D structures including other types of cells such as vessels and fibroblasts“.
 Pneumocytes are cells that line the pulmonary alveoli and help them to function. Type II pneumocytes secrete the pulmonary surfactant, which liquefies the mucus and facilitates gaseous exchange in the alveoli.
Le quotidien du médecin, Dr Véronique NGuyen (3/10/2017)