Via ScienceDaily: "Stem cell researchers exploring a new approach for the care of respiratory diseases report that an experimental treatment involving transplantable lung cells was associated with improved outcomes in tests on mice with acute lung injury. ... Respiratory diseases are a major cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide. Current treatments offer no prospect of cure or disease reversal. Transplantation of pulmonary progenitor cells derived from human embryonic stem cells may provide a novel approach to regenerate endogenous lung cells destroyed by injury and disease. ... [Researchers] used a genetic selection procedure they created to generate a type of lung cell known as alveolar epithelial type II, which secretes surfactant, a substance that keeps the lung inflated, and can turn into another important lung cell that regulates the transfer of oxygen into the blood and the removal of carbon dioxide. ... the experimental stem cell treatment [not only] prevented or reversed visual hallmarks of pulmonary injury, but also restored near normal lung function to mice. ... additional tests in other animal models and eventually humans will be needed before these cell transplants can be used to treat respiratory diseases."