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Helping Veterans Fight Lung Disease

1 May 2015
| Under COPD | Posted by | 10 Comments
Helping Veterans Fight Lung Disease

Could Stem Cells Help in the Fight?

As they stormed Omaha Beach in Normandy, no one was watching over them. When they scurried across the decks of destroyers and aircraft carriers as sirens alerted of the enemy circling above, they weren’t thinking about their health. Sifting through the jungle, constantly damp and caked in mud, they didn’t know what Agent Orange was and if they did, they still would have fought. When they enlisted, they weren’t looking for a job; they were answering a call, a duty they felt required to fulfill. Unfortunately now, the veterans of WWII, the Korean War, the War in Vietnam and every military action since are seeing their health decline. Some have developed health conditions directly affected by their service while others are simply dealing with ailments that affect the civilian population as well. One of the most prominent health conditions affecting veterans are debilitating lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pulmonary fibrosis.

A recent study conducted by the Veterans Administration in Cincinnati found that the prevalence of COPD among veterans is much higher than the general population. Younger veterans, those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, were regularly subjected to air pollution from burn pits, exploded IEDs and aeroallergens found in the desert region. More seasoned veterans faced chemical pollutants like Agent Orange that have contribute to their degrading lung function. Given the limited resources available to veterans, whose military pension equates to approximately 60% of the income of an average household in the specific county they live in, treatment options for incurable lung diseases have left veterans looking outside the VA for answers.

Don’t these men and women, the ones that have offered their lives and their futures for the protection of all Americans, deserve more? Don’t they deserve options, answers and a treatment that might help them get back to the life they want? The answer is an emphatic yes of course, and some veterans have found that these options may lie in stem cell therapy to treat their lung disease.

Stem cells have become a buzzword in the news over the past few years. However, much of the talk is about fetal stem cells. Few people are talking about adult, autologous stem cells that are present in all of our bodies. Functioning as our body’s system to promote healing, these cells live in blood and bone marrow.. They naturally respond to injury or illness; however, stem cells don’t move quickly. Hence, our bodies don’t instantly heal when we get sick. Autologous stem cell therapy has the potential to expedite this natural healing process.

The Lung Institute physicians extract stem cells through a minimally invasive procedure, separate them and then reintroduce them to the lungs. This may quicken healing by directing the cells—and their healing properties—toward the diseased area. The result is healthier tissue growing in place of damaged tissue, and although this doesn’t cure the disease, it may slow further degeneration and has the ability to bring a normal life back within reach.

When I think of veterans, I’m reminded of my grandpa, a U.S. Navy veteran of WWII and the Korean War. As is the same with most veterans, failure was not a term he was acquainted with. However, teamwork was in his daily vocabulary because that is how they operated under fire as a team. Help does not mean that you have failed; it means that you’re not in it alone. Help is exactly what veterans deserve whether they would admit it or not. Just like my grandfather served because he found it to be his duty, I feel it is my duty to serve veterans when they come home. We can help by providing solutions to their problems, and for those struggling to breathe because of their chronic lung disease, stem cells may be the solution.

If you or a loved one suffers from a lung disease, the Lung Institute may be able to help. Contact them today at (800) 729-3065 to find out if you qualify for stem cell therapy.


  1. Lung Institute

    3 weeks ago


    Thank you for your question. We are sorry to hear about your brothers and their battles with agent orange. Unfortunately, at this time, Medicare, Medicaid and insurance companies don’t cover treatment. However, we’re hopeful that treatment will be covered in the near future. Keep in mind that it will take some time before the insurance companies see a financial benefit in their favor and then decide to cover it.

    We’re happy to answer your questions about stem cell therapy for chronic lung diseases. We have a dedicated medical team who have a wealth of knowledge about stem cells, treatment options, candidacy, cost and more. So, feel free to give us a call at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


    The Lung Institute

  2. Ralph Fitzwater

    4 weeks ago

    My name is Ralph Fitzwater. I live in Phoenix, Az. My brother, Harry Fitzwater lives in Torrington, Wyo. and goes to the VA clinic in Cheyenne, Wyo. He is diognosed with COPD and tested pos. with agent Orange. he was in the army in the late 60’s earlt 70’s. He is supose to take a treatment of Ipratropium Bromide albuterol every 4 hrs but has to take it every 3 hrs if he wants to breath. I fear that one of those Wyo winters will take him as that is when it is the worst. What can be done for him. He is on ssdi and that is his only income. I will have him call you and I’m very willing to move him to Phoenix but I am on ssi and have a limited income also as far as the treatment is concerned. I have an e-mail add. but he does not and he has no computor. I have another brother, Mike Fitzwater who has copd with agent orange also. He goes to the va in Casper, Wyo. He is on oxygen full time. Mike was in nam in the late 60’s. Harry was in Korea.

  3. Lung Institute

    4 weeks ago


    At this time, insurance companies, including the VA, don’t cover treatment. While we are hopeful that treatment will be covered in the future, it will take some time before insurance companies see a financial benefit in their favor and then decide to cover treatment. Treatment cost varies depending on treatment type, so it’s best to speak one-on-one with one of our patient coordinators. They have a wealth of knowledge about stem cells, treatment options, candidacy and cost. Feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to speaking with you soon.


    The Lung Institute

  4. mike bethke

    4 weeks ago

    does the va cover this

  5. Phoebe

    10 months ago

    Hi Donna,

    At this time, insurance doesn’t pay for stem cell treatment. However, we are hopeful that it will be covered in the future. Keep in mind that it may be some time before insurance companies decide to cover treatment. Our knowledgeable medical staff is happy to answer your questions about stem cell treatment, candidacy and cost, so feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  6. donna adams

    10 months ago

    My husband has stage 4 copd, but we are on a very small income per month. I heard that insurance does not pay for stem cell treatments. is this something that, since he is a vet, he would be able to get help with?

  7. PB

    2 years ago

    Dear Mr. Jon Wetherington,

    First and foremost, thank you for your service to our nation and for everything you have done for the USA. We are happy to answer any questions you have regarding stem cell treatment, so feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149 to speak one-on-one with a patient coordinator. They have a wealth of knowledge about stem cells, treatment, candidacy and cost. Again, thank you for your service, and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  8. Jon Wetherington > MSGT< USAF Retired

    2 years ago

    I have read about the treatment for COPD and understand the cost is beyond my ability. I served in NAM 69-70 and received the Bronze Star for my efforts. I retired from the Air Force the last day of January 1975. I presently use puffers 4 times a day and Qx machine at night during sleep.

  9. PB

    2 years ago

    Dear Benny,

    We would be happy to answer your questions and discuss stem cell treatment options with you. To speak with one of our patient coordinators today, give us a call at (855) 313-1149. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

    Best Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  10. Benny balerio

    2 years ago

    I have stage D copd.
    And I’m on disability, and I am also a veteran in Texas.
    I would love it if you could help me,but I receive very little money month to month.
    Thank you

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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.

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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.