The official blog of the Lung Institute.

History of Cellular Treatment Therapy

23 Jun 2015
| Under COPD, Lung Disease | Posted by
History of Cellular Therapy

The words “cellular therapy” probably carry some sort of preconceived notions on your part. Whether you’ve heard cells mentioned as a political buzzword or in reference to new medical treatments, there is no denying the recent attention paid to these words. With the phenomenon recently growing around cells, many people assume the history of cellular therapy is only a short-lived story. However, cellular therapy has been conducted since the 1950s.

The First Cellular Therapy

Physicians have known for decades that leukemia affects the blood and specifically the production of white blood cells in the body. Dr. E. Donnall Thomas was on the forefront of bone marrow research, and in the late 1950s he discovered that transplanting bone marrow tissue, rich with cells, could help fight the disease. In Cooperstown, New York he performed the first bone marrow transplant between identical twins. Medical advancements at the time only allowed for an identical twin to donate bone marrow due to commonality of rejection.

Cellular Therapy in the ‘60s and ‘70s

A decade after Dr. Thomas performed the fist cellular therapy, physicians developed protocols that allowed for the first allogeneic transplant, or transplant between two people that were not twins. However, even in this case, the donor was a sibling of the transplant recipient. It wasn’t until 1973 that the first non-related transplant took place. By this time, a blood bank in Denmark was able to match a donor and recipient.

Cellular Therapy Today

When the body becomes injured or develops a disease, cells are carried through the blood to the area and begin a natural healing process. They promote healing. Unfortunately this process is slow, and the healing may take longer than it takes the disease to progress and spread. For those suffering from leukemia, the replacement of diseased bone marrow with healthy tissue may help the body to help fight the disease. A similar positive reaction can be found for those who are suffering from lung diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and interstitial lung disease.

Cells can be taken from the patient’s own body, eliminating the risk of rejection, processed in a lab, and then reintroduced into the body to help treat lung disease. This process gives the patient a stronger chance to expedite the healing process. Although this treatment does not cure the disease, many patients report an increased in quality of life, and some even show a return of lung function through their regular pulmonary function tests (PFTs).

If you or a loved one suffers from COPD or pulmonary fibrosis, the Lung Institute may be able to help. Contact us by calling 888-745-6697 to pre-qualify for cellular therapy and get your questions answered.


* Every patient is given a Patient Satisfaction Survey shortly after treatment. Responses to the 11-question survey are aggregated to determine patient satisfaction with the delivery of treatment.

^ Quality of Life Survey data measured the patient’s self-assessed quality of life and measurable quality of improvement at three months of COPD patients.

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.

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 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.

Each patient is different. Results may vary.