Researchers studying lung diseases are optimistic that their finds regarding telomeres will help make better treatments for people that suffer from diseases such as emphysema and pulmonary fibrosis, which often occur in people who have malfunctioning telomeres.
“Mary Armanios, M.D., an associate professor of oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine., and her colleagues report that some stem cells vital to lung cell oxygenation undergo premature aging—and stop dividing and proliferating—when their telomeres are defective. The stem cells are those in the alveoli, the tiny air exchange sacs where blood takes up oxygen.
Until now, Armanios says, researchers and clinicians have thought that ‘inflammation alone is what drives these lung diseases and have based therapy on anti-inflammatory drugs for the last 30 years.’
But the new discoveries, reported March 30 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest instead that ‘if it’s premature aging of the stem cells driving this, nothing will really get better if you don’t fix that problem,’ Armanios says.” – Medical Xpress