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Director of Women’s Guild Lung Institute Awarded Stem Cell Grant to Study Treatment for Lung Disease

A Cedars-Sinai research team led by Paul W. Noble, MD, chair of the Department of Medicine and director of the Women’s Guild Lung Institute, has been awarded a grant worth more than $600,000 by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine — the state’s stem cell agency — to develop a treatment for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a deadly disease that destroys the lungs.

“Lung fibrosis occurs when the lung is unable to repair itself properly after injury or infection,” says Dr. Noble. The illness — which has no cure and no effective treatment besides lung transplantation — thickens and hardens tissue, leaving the lungs badly scarred. Patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis have great difficulty breathing and the chronic reduction in oxygen also damages other vital organs. The cause of the disease is not clearly understood and many people live only three to five years after diagnosis.

The two-year study will build upon preliminary research completed at Cedars-Sinai by Dr. Noble and physician researcher Dianhua Jiang, MD, PhD. They uncovered important clues to the precise way normal lung stem cell repair occurs and how a cure might be developed.

“If successful, our research will result in a completely novel approach to the treatment of lung diseases, allowing for the renewal and repair of the patient’s cells,” says Dr. Noble.