Research Topic

Advances in Cell-Based and Gene-Based Therapies for Respiratory Diseases

About this Research Topic

Respiratory diseases are major health concerns worldwide. As such, patients with respiratory diseases are usually subjected to considerable economic, psychosocial and clinical burdens, resulting in a high rate of morbidity and disability. Four out of the ten leading causes of death are respiratory diseases, claiming over 5 million lives in 2016 according to the World Health Organization. Moreover, the current COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted people’s lives all over the world, with a major deleterious effect of SARS-Cov-2 infection on the lungs.

Respiratory diseases are mostly caused by genetic and environmental factors and/or social behaviors that lead to lung inflammation, injury and remodeling, and progressive deterioration of lung function. Despite progress in understanding the pathological mechanisms involved in each of these disorders, there is still no effective therapy able to halt their natural history or reverse the morphological and functional injury already established. At end-stage lung disease, lung transplantation remains the only feasible intervention.

Streams of research have exploited the possible application of stem cells and gene-based therapies in different strategies aimed at regenerating the lungs. Lung regenerative medicine, characterized by a unique converging of scientific fields in biology, physical sciences, and bioengineering, has emerged as one of the most promising fields of lung research. The proper incorporation and integration of stem cell and gene-based strategies is therefore a key step towards the development of novel therapeutics to the human lungs. Furthermore, many studies have investigated pathological mechanisms underlying these disorders to identify novel early biomarkers and specific signaling pathways that could be targeted for the development of these effective therapies.

This Research Topic aims to gather a collection of Review, Perspective and Original Research articles that provide current efforts at basic, translational and clinical levels for the development of stem cell-based and gene-based therapies for respiratory diseases, including acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and pneumoconiosis, among others. Furthermore, this topic aims to shed light on advances regarding diagnosis, epidemiology, clinical management, pathological mechanisms of these devastating diseases.


Prof. Wagner owns stock shares in Pfizer and Merck, patent pending on whole organ decellularisation and recelluarisation US20160067378A1. The other Topic Editors declare no competing interests with regards to the Research Topic theme.


Keywords: lung, inflammation, remodeling, therapy development, biomarkers


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Respiratory diseases are major health concerns worldwide. As such, patients with respiratory diseases are usually subjected to considerable economic, psychosocial and clinical burdens, resulting in a high rate of morbidity and disability. Four out of the ten leading causes of death are respiratory diseases, claiming over 5 million lives in 2016 according to the World Health Organization. Moreover, the current COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted people’s lives all over the world, with a major deleterious effect of SARS-Cov-2 infection on the lungs.

Respiratory diseases are mostly caused by genetic and environmental factors and/or social behaviors that lead to lung inflammation, injury and remodeling, and progressive deterioration of lung function. Despite progress in understanding the pathological mechanisms involved in each of these disorders, there is still no effective therapy able to halt their natural history or reverse the morphological and functional injury already established. At end-stage lung disease, lung transplantation remains the only feasible intervention.

Streams of research have exploited the possible application of stem cells and gene-based therapies in different strategies aimed at regenerating the lungs. Lung regenerative medicine, characterized by a unique converging of scientific fields in biology, physical sciences, and bioengineering, has emerged as one of the most promising fields of lung research. The proper incorporation and integration of stem cell and gene-based strategies is therefore a key step towards the development of novel therapeutics to the human lungs. Furthermore, many studies have investigated pathological mechanisms underlying these disorders to identify novel early biomarkers and specific signaling pathways that could be targeted for the development of these effective therapies.

This Research Topic aims to gather a collection of Review, Perspective and Original Research articles that provide current efforts at basic, translational and clinical levels for the development of stem cell-based and gene-based therapies for respiratory diseases, including acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) and pneumoconiosis, among others. Furthermore, this topic aims to shed light on advances regarding diagnosis, epidemiology, clinical management, pathological mechanisms of these devastating diseases.


Prof. Wagner owns stock shares in Pfizer and Merck, patent pending on whole organ decellularisation and recelluarisation US20160067378A1. The other Topic Editors declare no competing interests with regards to the Research Topic theme.


Keywords: lung, inflammation, remodeling, therapy development, biomarkers


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 December 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 December 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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