The official blog of the Lung Institute.

Better Tomorrows are here for Those Suffering From COPD

26 Nov 2015
| Under COPD, Lung Disease | Posted by | 6 Comments
Better Tomorrows are here for Those Suffering From COPD

Upon being diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and shortly before his death on February 27th, 2015, Leonard Nimoy tweeted, “Not soon enough.” He was referring to his decision to quit smoking. Nimoy had quit 30 years before, but the damage to his lungs had already been done. Nimoy told Pharrell Williams last year in an interview, “I flunked chemistry in high school.” So, perhaps the elder movie star didn’t fully grasp the long-term harmful effects of smoking in his younger days. He spent the final year of his life urging people to benefit from his mistakes and stop smoking now, before it’s too late. The internationally beloved actor was 82 years old.

COPD is the third-leading cause of death in the United States after heart disease and cancer. Some 12 million people have been diagnosed with COPD, and about another 12 million go undiagnosed. Mr. Nimoy is certainly not the only celebrity known to have developed the disease. Such music and movie icons as Johnny Carson, Dean Martin and Leonard Bernstein suffered from COPD, which ultimately played a roll in each of their deaths.

Bernstein died in 1990, Martin in 1995, Carson in 2005 and Nimoy most recently in early 2015. The treatment for their disease has remained virtually the same over the 25-year period encompassing their deaths.

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for COPD. Many physicians prescribe bronchodilators to help expand airways and allow a greater volume of air into and out of the lungs. It’s also common for a COPD treatment plan to include the use of supplemental oxygen to better regulate the diminishing blood-oxygen levels brought on by poor lung function. Although these treatments are helpful, they do not reverse symptoms. The purpose of these protocols is general symptom management, not disease treatment, and they’ve gone underdeveloped for decades.

Since 1990, we have seen a plethora of medical breakthroughs. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease death rates have dropped by more than 35 percent since 1990. Cancer treatments have also progressed rapidly, and the death rate for cancer sufferers has dropped about 9 percent since the ‘90s. COPD, on the other hand, has risen from the fifth leading cause of death to the third and its mortality rate has increased by over 30 percent in the last 25 years.

Funding for lung disease research has perhaps been limited by a sort of stigma carried by smoking-related illnesses — that patients only have themselves to blame. People deserve the best treatment they can get. We should keep in mind that many started smoking while they were minors, lured in by marketing campaigns that targeted children for decades.

Better Tomorrows are Here

Today, creating some hope for those suffering from COPD, a clinic in the Unites States has developed a treatment using stem cells from the patient’s own body to help combat the disease. The Lung Institute has performed over 1500 treatments since their inception in 2013. Their physicians harvest stem cells through a minimally invasive procedure, process them and then return them to the patient. This can promote healing by directing the cells—and their healing properties—toward the diseased area. The result is not a direct cure for the disease; however, it could slow further progression and bring a normal life back within reach.

Nimoy, to his great credit, took precious time from his last days among us to issue a warning. Many of us smoke in our younger years before the eventual realization that we’re mortal and we need to take care of our health. The trouble with degenerative lung disease is that it’s impossible to know at what point enough damage has been done to the lungs that they will continue to degenerate, eventually resulting in a COPD diagnosis. However, new advancements in treating the disease are finally being practiced and it is possible that COPD may soon see a decline in prevalence similar to that of heart disease and cancer. Regardless of the cause of someone’s lung disease, we all deserve a chance to fight for better tomorrows. With treatments like stem cell therapy, this hope may now become a reality for thousands.

If you or a loved one is suffering from a lung disease, the Lung Institute may be able to help. Contact us by calling (800) 729-3065 to find out if you qualify for stem cell therapy.


  1. PB

    1 year ago

    Dear Barbara,

    Thanks for your question. We have reached out to your patient coordinator, and your patient coordinator will be contacting you soon to discuss your question further.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  2. Barbara Frye

    1 year ago

    will stem cell treatment help Lung fdefussion

  3. Cameron Kennerly

    2 years ago

    Hello Phil,

    First off we’d like to say thank you for sharing your story and we wholeheartedly sympathize with your struggle. Although unfortunately at this stage, insurance does not cover the procedure, however for detailed information on the procedure, its costs, and the general process, we urge you to speak with one of our well-qualified patient coordinators. Their wealth of knowledge on the subject should be helpful to you and your journey for better health. For more information on alternative funding please feel free to contact us at 1-855-313-1149.

    We look forward to hearing from you Phil,

    -The Lung Institute

  4. Phil

    2 years ago

    I guess if you can’t afford it your beat! The story of my life!! I just pray it works for those who are able to get the help.God bless you if it does work you’re helping a lot of people. I KNOW I WAS A SMOKER FOR OVER 30 YEARS. JUST STOPPED 6 MONTHS AGO. I HAVE C.O.P.D. AND ENFOCMA.

  5. Cameron Kennerly

    2 years ago

    Hello Marilyn,

    Although this procedure is not currently covered by insurance, please contact us for detailed information on the procedure, its costs, and the general process. You’ll want to speak with one of our well-qualified patient coordinators as their wealth of knowledge on the subject should be helpful to you and your journey for better health. For more information please contact us at 1-855-313-1149.

    Thanks for your inquiry Marilyn and we look forward to hearing from you,

    -The Lung Institute

  6. Marilyn

    2 years ago

    Will Medicare and supplement insurance paid for this? How much is the treatment?

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* All treatments performed at Lung Institute utilize autologous stem cells, meaning those derived from a patient's own body. No fetal or embryonic stem cells are utilized in Lung Institute's procedures. Lung Institute aims to improve patients' quality of life and help them breathe easier through the use of autologous stem cell therapy. To learn more about how stem cells work for lung disease, click here.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

Under current FDA guidelines and regulations 1271.10 and 1271.15, the Lung Institute complies with all necessary requirements for operation. The Lung Institute is firmly in accordance with the conditions set by the FDA for exemption status and conducts itself in full accordance with current guidelines. Any individual who accesses Lung Institute's website for information is encouraged to speak with his or her primary physician for treatment suggestions and conclusive evidence. All information on this site should be used for educational and informational use only.

As required by Texas state law, the Lung Institute Dallas Clinic has received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from MaGil IRB, now Chesapeake IRB, which is fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Program (AAHRPP), for research protocols and stem cell procedures. The Lung Institute has implemented these IRB approved standards at all of its clinics nationwide. Approval indicates that we follow rigorous standards for ethics, quality, and protections for human research.