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Study Reports Success Of Protein Therapy In Treating Injured Lung Cells

Update Date: Jul 24, 2014 12:07 PM EDT

Researchers have successfully used a protein, known as MG53, to treat acute and chronic lung cell injury, proving the application of the protein in preventing lung cell injury, according to a new study.

The team of researchers had first identified the protein in 2008 and in earlier studies they showed that MG53 repairs and protects heart and skeletal muscle cells.

"This latest study demonstrates that MG53 is expressed in the lungs and may be used to repair many types of lung injuries," Jianjie Ma, a professor and researcher in Ohio State's Department of Surgery said in the press release.

"We need to do further testing, but so far this therapy appears safe," Ma said. "The human body already makes small amounts of MG53 in blood circulation, so there is no concern for allergic response. Additionally, we treated rodent models with a dose 10 times higher than the effective dose with no adverse effects."

Acute lung injury occurs in critically ill patients where mechanical ventilation, reperfusion, sepsis, trauma and shock can all lead to lung damage.

According to reports from American Lung Association, nearly 36 million Americans live with chronic lung disease, and could potentially benefit from a protein therapy that targets cell repair.

"If treatment with rhMG53 works in humans, the implications for patient care could be quite significant," Ma said. "It could prevent and repair heart and lung cell damage. It 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."

Findings of the research are published in the journal Nature Communications.

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