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Nationwide Children’s Hospital Researchers Receive Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Grant to Study Cell Therapy

Columbus, OH - 1/7/2016

A team of physician-scientists led by Susan D. Reynolds, PhD, at Nationwide Children’s Hospital recently received a grant from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to study the safety and effectiveness of cell therapy for the treatment of cystic fibrosis.
“Existing treatments and recently-developed drugs have improved lung function for many cystic fibrosis patients. Our goal is to develop a treatment that will benefit even more of these patients by using an individual’s own cells as therapy, an approach termed “autologous cell therapy,” explains Dr. Reynolds, who is a principal investigator in the Center for Perinatal Research at Nationwide Children’s.
The grant of more than $150,000 will help researchers identify the optimal cell for use as cell therapy, focusing on the airway tissue stem cell, a unique cell type that self-renews (replaces itself) and is the source of all cells that cover the surface of the lung’s airways. The team will test the safety and function of these cells using their recently developed preclinical transplantation model.
Co-investigators with Dr. Reynolds on the grant include Don Hayes, Jr, MD, medical director, Advanced Lung Disease Program and Daniel Malleske, MD, neonatologist, at Nationwide Children’s.
Dr. Reynolds notes, “Cell therapy for cystic fibrosis patients has been characterized as ‘futuristic.’ However, our previous research suggests we have overcome some of the scientific barriers preventing the development of this therapy for patients. We feel the future of this therapy is closer than may be expected.”

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