What is a Stem Cell?
Stem cells are the building blocks of life–essential to every organism. They self-renew and replicate, with the ability to form any type of tissue in the body. Adult stem cells from one organ can create tissue for another organ, a quality known as plasticity. Plasticity is the key function of stem cells in regenerative medicine.
How Does the Lung Institute use Stem Cells?
The Lung Institute offers stem cell treatment for many major pulmonary conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), emphysema, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary fibrosis and interstitial lung disease. The Lung Institute uses autologous stem cells, cells derived from the patient’s own body. These versatile cells are extracted from one of the following tissues:
Adult stem cells can form many types of differentiated cells, so when they are returned to the patient, they can promote the healing of lung tissue potentially leading to improved lung function.
The Stem Cell Treatment Process
The stem cells are harvested from the patient’s own blood, adipose tissue or bone marrow. The stem cells are separated and returned to the patient intravenously or through the use of a nebulizer. Once the cells are returned to the patient, they can begin to promote healing.
How do Stem Cells Target the Lungs?
When something, such as medication, blood, or stem cells, is introduced to your body through an IV, it goes directly to the right side of the heart. Within a heartbeat or two, it is pushed straight to the lungs. Then your blood distributes the item throughout the body. However, this process changes a little when it comes to stem cells. During studies conducted for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), researchers found that stem cells go through this process but get trapped when they arrive in the lungs. This is commonly called the pulmonary trap, and although it may not be good news for someone who wishes to see those cells move throughout the body, it’s a happy occurrence for those looking to slow down the progression of a chronic lung disease.