Can Stem Cells Help ILD and Other Lung Diseases?
What is Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD)?
Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) is an umbrella term used to classify a family of about 100 diverse types of pulmonary conditions that impede the normal absorption of oxygen in the lungs. All of these conditions have an effect the interstitium, which is the tissue and space around the alveoli—the cluster-like air sacs—in the lungs. The interstitium is usually relatively invisible, but when an individual has ILD, the interstitium becomes progressively scarred and more visible. This scarring is characteristic of the entire family of diseases encompassed by interstitial lung disease. The scar tissue affects the ability for oxygen to pass from the lungs into the bloodstream. Before today, the effects of interstitial lung disease were irreversible; now stem cell therapy for ILD offers a new, practical option for people affected by the condition.
Therapy for ILD
To this day, ILD is—unfortunately—incurable, but that does not mean that it is not able to be treated. In fact, there are many treatments out there for ILD, but these do not actually reduce any of the effects of ILD. As an incurable disorder, the therapy is not meant to make the disease disappear, but rather therapy can be used to improve an individual’s quality of life, to reduce symptoms or to prevent the ongoing progression of the disease. Upon diagnosis, many physicians utilize a combination of medications to suppress the immune system, but these have not proven successful. In order to help patients who are struggling to breathe, compressed oxygen can help manage shortness of breath. There are times that pulmonary rehabilitation and nutritional counseling are recommended in order to improve endurance. In severe cases, pulmonologists may resort to a lung transplant, but this invasive procedure often has limited availability and extensive requirements for eligibility. Thankfully, there is a new possibility as a result of the hard work of a visionary group of doctors dedicated to improving the lives of patients with interstitial lung disease.
What are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are the building blocks of every single living organism in the world. They have the ability for self-renewal and replication, and are capable of forming any type of tissue or organ in the body. Adult stem cells from one organ are able to create tissue for another organ; this is called plasticity. It has been discovered that adult stem cells have the ability to be transferred into any single organ in the body.
Stem Cell Therapy for ILD
In the case of ILD, autologous stem cells are used; this means the cells come from the patient’s body. These stem cells are found in blood (venous). Bone marrow or venous stem cells have the capacity to form many types of differentiated cells. During the procedure, stem cell therapy involves isolating adult cells from bone marrow requiring special laboratory techniques to collect. After extraction, the cells are isolated. At this point, the cells are returned to the patient intravenously. The minimally invasive therapy can be performed as an outpatient procedure in a clinical setting under the supervision of a professional. It takes a physician that has sought specific training to perform stem cell therapy adequately, safely and successfully. If you would like to find out more about how our stem cell therapy for ILD and other lung diseases can help you, please contact one of our patient care coordinators today at (800) 729-3065 to schedule a free consultation.