A researcher at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has received close to $7.5 million in total funding for research towards development of stem cell-based treatments for chronic pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and other disorders.

Michael J. Holtzman, MD, has identified a subset of stem cells that line in the airways, which are able to grow into other, more specialized types of cells. These cells can help drive mucus production in the lungs, making it crucial for an immune defense strategy.

The subset of stem cells become activated by common respiratory viruses and other inhaled agents, preventing airway injury and promote repair. Holtzman and his team are searching for therapeutic targets to control this stem cell response.  

The grant will provide 7 years of funding for research towards these cells, as well as support ongoing efforts to identify pharmacological strategies for manipulating the stem cells.


Strait J. $7.5 million to fund pioneering approaches to respiratory disease [news release]. St. Louis, MO; September 9, 2019: WUSMSL website. https://medicine.wustl.edu/news/7-5-million-to-fund-pioneering-approaches-to-respiratory-disease/. Accessed October 11, 2019.