Can Stem Cells Help COPD?
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a debilitating lung disease, meaning that it worsens over time without proper treatment and symptom management. The progression of the disease goes through four stages, from mild to very severe. It is characterized by a restriction of airflow into and out of the lungs that makes breathing difficult. COPD is the umbrella term for sufferers who have been diagnosed with or show signs of emphysema and/or chronic bronchitis. Stem cell treatment for COPD is an emerging option for people suffering from this condition.
Treatments for COPD
Unfortunately, there isn’t a known cure for COPD, but that does not mean that the disease can’t be treated. Many physicians prescribe bronchodilators to help expand the airways, allowing more ai to enter and exit the lungs. Also, it is common that a COPD treatment program to include a regiment of breathing and aerobic exercise to rehabilitate some pulmonary functioning. For people in the most severe stages of COPD, supplemental oxygen is also used for treatment. Although most of these treatments are helpful, they do not assistance in the reversal of any symptoms, they are simply used to slow the progression of the disease. A group of physicians have discovered over the past decade that the use of stem cells can have a positive effect in treating COPD and other pulmonary conditions.
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 Treatments for COPD
In the case of lung diseases, autologous stem cells are used, meaning they come from the patient’s own body, and can be found in blood, fat and bone marrow. Stem cells have the ability to form many types of various cells.
During the procedure, stem cell therapy involves harvesting adult stem cells from bone marrow, fat tissue and the blood which needs special laboratory methods to gather them. After being extracted from the patient’s body, they are then processed and isolated. They are then given back to the patient intravenously or through a method using a nebulizer. It surprises many people to hear that the therapy is minimally invasive and normally an outpatient procedure.
These procedures should be completed in a clinical venue under the supervision of a trained physician. It takes a doctor that has sought specific training in stem cell therapy to perform the treatment safely and proficiently.