The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Stem Cell Basics
Stem cells are the body’s natural healing mechanism. When you get a cut on your finger or suffer from a debilitating lung condition like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), stem cells travel throughout the body to target the damaged tissue and promote healing. For a simple cut, that means a couple days of scabbing and maybe a little bleeding, but eventually your skin looks like new again. Unfortunately, the same is not the case for chronic progressive disease. The stem cells just don’t work as quickly to promote the healing of the tissue as the disease does in destroying it. Stem cell therapy is essentially the movement of stem cells from one part of your body to another, which focuses the healing ability of the cells in a much more concentrated and quick manner. The question on most people’s minds is how do stem cells target damaged lung tissue in the first place?
The Pulmonary Trap
When you introduce something into your body through an IV, whether it be a certain medication, blood or, in this case, stem cells, the item goes directly to the right side of the heart. From here, it is pushed within a beat or two straight to the lungs. Then your blood distributes the item throughout the body. However, this process is tweaked slightly when it comes to stem cells. During studies conducted for the National Institute of Health (NIH), researchers found that stem cells go through this process, but get trapped when they arrive in the lungs. This may not be good news for someone who wishes to see those cells move on throughout the body, but for those looking to arrest or slow down the progression of the disease, it’s a happy occurrence.
What Does This Mean for Lung Disease?
For suffers of chronic lung disease, the lungs slowly function less and less efficiently and eventually stop working all together. It’s the unfortunate truth that most lung diseases like COPD, interstitial lung disease and pneumoconiosis are not just chronic and progressive, but are likely terminal. With lung disease now established as the third leading cause of death in the United States, more people are looking for treatment options other than the traditional avenues of supplemental oxygen and bronchodilators.
Stem cell therapy, while not a cure for lung disease, is one of the only methods that seeks to treat the disease itself, not just the symptoms. When stem cells get trapped in the lungs, they go to work making healthy lung tissue. The results speak for themselves:
- Many decrease their supplemental oxygen usage.
- Some even report that their pulmonary function tests (PFT) indicate an increase in lung function.
While these results are not a guaranteed, most patients do report being able to do small things that before treatment were not just difficult, but in some cases not physically possible.
If you or a loved one suffers from a lung disease and would like to learn more about stem cell therapy, join us for one of our many online and in-person seminars, or contact us by calling (800) 729-3065 to find out if you qualify for treatment.