Stem Cells Application in Thoracic Surgery: Current Perspective and Future Directions

  • Francesco PetrellaEmail author
  • Lorenzo Spaggiari
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1089)


Two main fields of clinical applications of stem cells in thoracic surgery have been explored: (a) regenerative medicine, that is a branch of translational research in tissue engineering and molecular biology dealing with the replacement, engineering or regeneration of cells, tissues and organs to restore normal function; (b) drug loading and delivery, that is an emerging field proposing stem cells as vectors to deliver anti-cancer agents for targeted therapies.

Bronchopleural fistula is a pathological connection between the bronchus and the pleural cavity that may develop after lung resection, thus causing pleural empyema due to colonization by resident airway bacteria; stem cells and regenerative medicine approach can effectively contribute to impaired bronchial healing, thus preventive a septic and ventilator catastrophe.

In the field of thoracic oncology, MSC are probably one of the best choice for anticancer drug delivery, emerging as potential experimental approach to malignant mesothelioma treatment.

The goal of this review is to focus on clinical applications of stem cell technologies in thoracic surgery, emphasizing regenerative medicine aspects as well as drug loading and delivery in thoracic oncology.


Drug loading and delivery Regenerative medicine Stem cells 



mesenchymal stromal cells


bone marrow mesenchymal stromal cells


single photon emission computed tomography


magnetic resonance


positron emission tomography


super paramagnetic iron oxide


ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide


broncho pleural fistula


malignant pleural mesotehlioma


programmed cell death protein 1





The Authors thank Anne Collins for editing the English text.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

The authors declare that this article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Thoracic SurgeryEuropean Institute of OncologyMilanItaly
  2. 2.Department of Oncology and Hemato-oncologyUniversity of MilanMilanItaly

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