The official blog of the Lung Institute.
Willie Nelson and Stem Cell Therapy
Country music superstar Willie Nelson has been in the news recently for missing concerts to undergo stem cell therapy.
Nelson, 82, said in an interview with the Washington Post that he underwent stem cell therapy to improve his lungs before going on tour, via. Saving Country Music.
Willie Nelson on Tour
Nelson planned to begin his latest tour, the Django and Jimmy Tour, with fellow country music superstar Merle Haggard. The tour was scheduled to start on Oct. 15, but the first three shows were postponed due to Nelson undergoing a medical procedure. It was later revealed that Willie Nelson’s stem cell therapy was the reason, according to Taste of Country.
“It’s supposed to help the lungs,” Nelson said to the Washington Post about the treatment. “Over the years I’ve smoked a lot of cigarettes, and I’ve had emphysema and pneumonia four or five times, so my lungs were really screwed up, and I had heard that this stem-cell operation would be good for them. So I said, ‘Well, I’m gonna try it out.’”
Stem cells are the building blocks of life – essential to every organism. They self renew and replicate and can form any type of tissue in the body. At clinics such as the Lung Institute, autologous stem cells – adult stem cells – are used to treat pulmonary conditions such as emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Stem Cell Therapy for Lung Disease
At the Lung Institute, stem cells are extracted from the patient’s own body, processed and are then reintroduced into the body to promote healing. Since stem cells can continuously replicate, the progression of a disease may slow down following treatment and the patient’s quality of life can improve.
Nelson has been an influential figure in the country music world for the last 50 years. Since the 1960s, Nelson has been one of the most predominant figures in the “Outlaw Country” sub-genre of country music–a response to the overly conservative restrictions to Nashville Sound at the time. Some of Nelson’s most notable albums include Shotgun Willie, Red Headed Stranger, and Stardust.
In addition to his music, Nelson was also a well known advocate of marijuana use. Though studies are finding marijuana to be less harmful than cigarette smoking, prolonged exposure can increase the risk of developing lung disease.
“There’s been a lot of talk about marijuana being harmless, but I think it’s a lot more dangerous to the lungs than most dope smokers realize,” said Nelson in his autobiography, with Bud Shrake. “Especially the strong marijuana that’s around these days. Each year it seems to get a little stronger. The wise course is to not abuse it. Your lungs are not really supposed to breathe anything but oxygen—pure, fresh air.”
If you or a loved one suffers from COPD, or any lung disease, the Lung Institute may be able to help with a variety of stem cell treatment options. Contact us at (800) 729-3065 find out if you qualify for stem cell therapy.