How Can Stem Cells Help Emphysema?
What is Emphysema?
Emphysema is one of the major obstructive lung diseases that fit under the umbrella of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It consists of the gradual destruction of air sacs in the lungs, making it more difficult to breathe over time. These tiny cluster-like sacs are responsible for bringing oxygen to the bloodstream. As emphysema progresses, the inner walls of the air sacs form holes weakening their internal structure, thus less oxygen can reach the bloodstream. Additionally, emphysema works to destroy the elasticity of the airways leading to the air sacs. The condition makes sufferers consistently short of breath and always struggling to breathe. Stem cell treatment for emphysema is an emerging option for people suffering from this condition.
Treatment for Emphysema
Unfortunately, there has not been a cure developed for emphysema, but that does not mean that the disease cannot be treated. The first recommendation by any pulmonologist is to advise individuals to stop smoking and stay away from smoke-filled locations. Many physicians also prescribe a combination of bronchodilators and steroids to help expand the airways, allowing more airflow to and from the lungs and reducing shortness of breath. Emphysema is also commonly treated with a series of pulmonary rehabilitation (aerobic exercise) and nutritional support. For people in the most severe stages of emphysema, supplemental oxygen is also used for treatment—ranging from occasional use to 24/7 use. Most invasively, a physician may suggest a lung transplant, but this often has limited availability and challenging requirements for eligibility. Sadly no treatment improves lung function, but rather deter the progression of the disease…until now. A group of innovative physicians have discovered that the use of stem cells can have a positive effect in treating emphysema and other lung diseases.
What are Stem Cells?
Stem cells are the building blocks for any type of living organism. They have the ability for self-renewal and replication, capable of forming any type of tissue or organ in the body. Adult stem cells from one organ are capable of forming tissue for another organ, which is called plasticity. It has been found that adult stem cells are capable of being transferred into any one single organ of the body.
Stem Cell Treatment for Emphysema
In the case of emphysema, autologous stem cells are used, meaning they come from the patient’s own body, and can be found in the blood, fat and bone marrow. Stem cells the capacity to form many types of differentiated cells. During the procedure, stem cell treatment involves harvesting adult stem cells, which requires special laboratory techniques to collect. After being extracted from the patient’s body, they are then processed and isolated. Then they are given back to the patient intravenously or through the use of a nebulizer. The treatment is minimally invasive and an outpatient procedure. The procedure should be performed 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 and safely. If you would like to find out more about our available treatment options for emphysema, please contact one of our patient care coordinators today at (800) 729-3065 to schedule a free consultation.