Lung transplantation is an active investigative arena at Michigan Medicine with focus on chronic allograft rejection or bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS), the primary cause of long term mortality after transplantation. The ability of a human lung to regenerate after transplantation also offers a fertile area to investigate stem cell biology. The Lung Transplantation and Stem Cell Biology Program is a unique program at Michigan Medicine which combines the fields of clinical lung transplantation and progenitor cell biology with the goal of investigating (1) clinical course, pathogenesis, and treatment of BOS; and (2) mechanisms by which endogenous lung-resident progenitor cells orchestrate lung repair and fibrosis. The clinical arm of this program has defined the course of BOS and characterized novel physiological and biological predictors of its onset. The program is actively enrolling lung transplant patients and has established a bio-repository of cells and supernatant from bronchoalveolar lavage samples.
Utilizing the bench to bedside approach, researchers at Michigan Medicine have also made seminal contributions to the field of human lung-resident mesenchymal stem cell. While the primary focus is investigating the role of these cells in context of human lung repair and fibrosis, murine models of adaptive transfer as well as orthoptopic mouse lung transplantation model have been established and are being utilized to investigate signaling mechanisms involved in progenitor cell recruitment and differentiation.