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Erratum: Stem Cell Treatment for Chronic Lung Diseases

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posted on 25.07.2017, 13:43 by Tzouvelekis A., Ntolios P., Bouros D.
Chronic lung diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and cystic fibrosis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma are leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide with a considerable human, societal and financial burden. In view of the current disappointing status of available pharmaceutical agents, there is an urgent need for alternative more effective therapeutic approaches that will not only help to relieve patient symptoms but will also affect the natural course of the respective disease. Regenerative medicine represents a promising option with several fruitful therapeutic applications in patients suffering from chronic lung diseases. Nevertheless, despite relative enthusiasm arising from experimental data, application of stem cell therapy in the clinical setting has been severely hampered by several safety concerns arising from the major lack of knowledge on the fate of exogenously administered stem cells within chronically injured lung as well as the mechanisms regulating the activation of resident progenitor cells. On the other hand, salient data arising from few ‘brave' pilot investigations of the safety of stem cell treatment in chronic lung diseases seem promising. The main scope of this review article is to summarize the current state of knowledge regarding the application status of stem cell treatment in chronic lung diseases, address important safety and efficacy issues and present future challenges and perspectives. In this review, we argue in favor of large multicenter clinical trials setting realistic goals to assess treatment efficacy. We propose the use of biomarkers that reflect clinically inconspicuous alterations of the disease molecular phenotype before rigid conclusions can be safely drawn.