The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) affects everyone differently and at different rates of progression. Because there are a variety of COPD treatment options, it can be challenging to know which treatments are right for you. You and your doctor will work together to develop an individualized treatment plan that’s best for you. Traditional COPD treatments include medications, inhalers and oxygen therapy, and they work to manage disease symptoms. One alternative treatment option is stem cell treatment for COPD, which works differently than traditional COPD treatments. Here’s what you need to know about stem cell treatment for COPD.
What are stem cells?
With the ability to self-renew and replicate, stem cells are the building blocks of life and are essential to every organism. Adult stem cells are called undifferentiated cells, meaning that cells from one part of the body can transform their function to that of other types of tissue. This quality is known as plasticity, and plasticity is the key function of stem cells in regenerative medicine.
What is stem cell treatment for COPD?
Stem cell treatment for COPD works to promote healing from within the lungs. With the potential to address disease progression and improve lung function, many people turn to stem cell treatment for COPD.
The stem cells are extracted from the patient’s blood or bone marrow. Next, the stem cells are separated in our on-site lab, and then they are returned to the patient intravenously. Once the cells are returned to the patient, they can begin to promote healing.
A common question about stem cell treatment for COPD is “how do stem cells get to the lungs?” When a substance, such as medication, blood or stem cells, is introduced to the body through an IV, it is carried in the bloodstream directly to the right side of the heart. Within a heartbeat or two, it is pushed directly into the lungs. The circulatory system then distributes the substance throughout the body.
For stem cells, this process is a bit different. In studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), researchers found that, while stem cells undergo the same process, they become trapped in the lungs rather than dispersing throughout the body in the bloodstream. This process, in which stem cells aggregate in the lungs, is known as the pulmonary trap.
What are my stem cell treatment options?
At the Lung Institute, we offer stem cell treatment for many major pulmonary conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary fibrosis and interstitial lung disease.
The Lung Institute uses autologous stem cells, which are cells derived from the patient’s body. These cells are also known as adult stem cells and can be extracted from blood and bone marrow.
For people looking for an alternative to the bone marrow procedure, the venous treatment is purely blood-derived and specializes in hematopoietic stem cells. The bone marrow procedure is a two-part procedure, combining both the bone marrow and venous treatments. Bone marrow has both hematopoietic stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells. All of the stem cell treatments at the Lung Institute are outpatient and minimally invasive.
Many people report feeling better, breathing easier and living a more active lifestyle after receiving stem cell treatment. If you or a loved one has COPD, pulmonary fibrosis or another chronic lung disease and would like to learn more about stem cell treatment options, contact us at (800) 729-3065.