The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Looking at cellular therapy as a potential treatment option for a chronic lung disease can lead to confusion. There are hundreds of websites, brochures and news articles that give contradictory information about cellular therapy, which makes it difficult to feel assured in your research. To make sure you have the proper information, here are some questions you should ask your cellular clinic before committing to any type of treatment. The 8 questions about cellular therapy should help you decide not only if cellular therapy is right for you, but if the clinic you are researching is right for you as well.
8 Questions to ask About Cellular Therapy
- Is the treatment center a dedicated cellular therapy center or a physician’s office offering cellular therapy on the side?
There are many doctors’ offices that actually do cellular therapys in addition to their current practice. Unfortunately, most of these doctors are working without state-of-the-art processing equipment and outdated protocols, which can decrease the effectiveness the treatments. Make sure to select a cellular clinic that focuses solely on providing cellular therapys. Additionally, ask what conditions are the focus of the treatment center. Does the clinic have a focus on cutting edge protocols for your personal condition, or do they treat a wide variety of conditions? Clinics that specialize in treating one specific condition are preferable because they are really focused in on any issues that you might have.
- Is an actual doctor overseeing the treatments?
Make sure to select a cellular therapy center that utilizes a board certified physician to oversee cellular therapys. In some clinics this is not the case. This is commonly a sign that the center is using only the most basic cell administration techniques instead of the most advanced available methods.
- Is the doctor U.S. board certified?
Putting a U.S. board certified physician in charge of your medical care gives you peace of mind that the doctor overseeing the removal and reintroduction of your cells is trained to meet all U.S. medical testing requirements.
- What is the source of the cells that are being used for treatment?
The safest cells to use for treatment are your own adult cells. These can be found in your blood. Using your own cells eliminates any chance of your body rejecting the cells because it already recognizes them as your own. Many people who receive organ transplants, for example, have to take medications to reduce the chance of rejection because the body can detect that the cells are foreign.
- Are the offered treatments overseen by an Institutional Review Board (IRB)?
In order to ensure legitimacy of a cellular clinic, check to see if they’re offering treatments that are overseen by an IRB. Third party oversight by an IRB ensures that the quality of care and outcomes are monitored and reviewed by a third party.
- Does the cellular therapy center have a dedicated cell processing lab?
Patients should only seek out a cellular clinic that utilizes a dedicated cellular processing lab to ensure that the procedure falls under the FDA guidelines for minimal manipulation. All too often, cells are processed in the same room they are harvested in or in a setting that does not constitute as an actual lab. When cells are processed in a substandard setting, the likelihood of contamination is increased.
- What methods are used to achieve production of your cells?
In order to achieve the highest cell counts possible, it is imperative that the latest methods and protocols are used. Most cellular clinics use only a single activation method, while others neglect the activation step altogether. Look for a cellular clinic that uses multiple activation methods to boost cell production, which increases the efficiency of the treatment.
- How many patients has the clinic treated for your specific condition?
Experience is paramount when it comes to delivering a safe and effective cellular therapy. Most clinics have only been around a year or less. Choose a center with a wealth of experience that has been applied to refining treatment protocols over the course treating hundreds of patients.
Having these questions answered will enable you to successfully select the right cellular clinic to treat your lung disease. Focusing on these important factors will help you feel more confident that you’re making the right decision. Remember, you can never ask too many questions, and your future clinic should be able to answer them to your satisfaction.