Article updated on:
April 28, 2023
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Stem cell therapy for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD or Lung Disease)
Stem cells have the unique ability to change into any cell in the body, called differentiation. They can be administered intravenously and find damaged tissues around organs. When used in regards to COPD patients, stem cells can repair damaged lung tissue to combat emphysema or chronic bronchitis. Stem cells have natural anti-inflammatory properties, which can clear airways for those with chronic bronchitis.
Completed studies have shown the ability to quantify the effects of stem cell therapy. According to a report done by the Lung Institute called Autologous Stem Cell Therapy and its Effects on COPD, over 82% of patients that attempted stem cell treatment had noticeable improvements in their quality of life after their therapies. Many of these patients reported increased lung capacity and the ability to walk following transfusion. These reports have positioned stem cells as one of the best viable options for current patients with COPD. (3)
While stem cell treatment has not shown the ability to cure COPD, its ability to repair damaged tissue and relatively invasive nature makes it an attractive alternative to patients. This path becomes even more desirable when considering the current treatment protocols requiring the use of ventilators or even total lung transplants, which are rare and extremely expensive.
What is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease? (COPD or Lung Disease)
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD or Lung Disease) can describe a group of lung conditions (diseases) that may inhibit the body's ability to remove air from the lungs. COPD can lead to symptoms such as; fatigue and shortness of breath (breathlessness). Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD or Lung Disease) can be used to describe a person with emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or a combination of the two.
The primary cause of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD or Lung Disease) is tobacco smoke, either active smoking or secondhand smoke. Inhaling smoke or other airborne irritants or pollutants can increase mucus production in one's bronchial tubes (bronchi), this can cause inflammation in the form of thickening bronchi walls. Symptoms of increased mucus production in the bronchial tubes include; frequently coughing, resulting in raising mucus (phlegm). COPD can develop over long periods or a short period when pollutants are inhaled in excess.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD or Lung Disease) may also be caused by other environmental factors such as; exposure to dust, air pollution, and airborne chemicals.
How Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD or Lung Disease) is diagnosed
As stated by the American Lung Association;
"Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) includes both chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Most individuals with COPD have a little bit of both but have a predominance of one or the other. Your doctor will ask questions about your family history with respiratory illnesses, your symptoms, and the medicines you use, and ask questions about your lifestyle. He or she will conduct a physical exam and order some laboratory tests to diagnose and assess the severity of your COPD. (2)
In 2008, 13.1 million US adults (ages 18 and over) were estimated to have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD or Lung Disease). However, close to 24 million US adults have evidence of impaired lung function, indicating an under-diagnosis of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD or Lung Disease).
In 2008, an estimated 9.8 million Americans reported a physician diagnosis of chronic bronchitis, the inflammation, and eventual scarring of the lining of the bronchial tubes. Chronic bronchitis affects people of all ages, although people age 65 and older have the highest rate at 56.3 per 1,000 population."
As of today, there has been no proven cure for COPD; however modern advances in stem cell therapies have yielded promising results.
Is COPD curable?
There is no cure for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but treatment can help manage the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. COPD is a progressive lung disease that includes chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and sometimes asthma symptoms. It is characterized by inflammation and damage to the airways and lung tissue, which leads to difficulty breathing.
Patients should consult a lung doctor near you for the most up-to-date information on the treatment options available for their condition.
Suppose you are looking towards undergoing a new treatment regime. In that case, following your doctor's prescribed dose and instructions is essential, including monitoring for any immediate hypersensitivity reactions. Using a dose counter may also help ensure you receive the correct amount.
Can COPD be cured with stem cell therapy?
No, currently, there is no cure for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) using stem cell therapy. While some studies have shown promising results, more research is needed to determine its long-term efficacy. The standard treatment for COPD currently involves managing symptoms, preventing exacerbations, and improving quality of life through maintenance treatment, medication, lifestyle changes, and rehabilitation.
Can other lung diseases be cured with stem cell therapy?
Currently, there is no cure for most lung diseases using stem cell therapy. Stem cell therapy is still considered a novel treatment for lung diseases and has not yet been accepted into mainstream medicine. While some studies have shown promising results, more research is needed to determine its long-term efficacy for various lung conditions.
Current treatments for COPD
Treatment for COPD generally focuses on relieving symptoms, preventing further damage to the lungs, and improving quality of life. Below are some examples of how you can repair lung damage:
- Medications: Bronchodilators, corticosteroids, and other medications can help open the airways and reduce inflammation, making it easier to breathe.
- Oxygen therapy: For people with severe COPD, oxygen therapy may be necessary to provide enough oxygen to the body. This may involve using an oxygen tank or portable oxygen concentrator.
- Pulmonary rehabilitation: This program of exercise and education can help improve physical conditioning and quality of life for people with COPD.
- Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove damaged lung tissue or to repair a damaged airway.
- Stem cell therapy: There is some evidence that stem cell therapy for lungs may be effective in improving lung function and reducing inflammation in people with COPD. However, the effectiveness of stem cell therapy for COPD is still being studied, and more research is needed to determine its long-term effectiveness.
It is important for people with COPD to work closely with their healthcare team to develop a treatment plan that meets their needs.
Stem cells for COPD treatment
Current treatment for COPD involves the use of anti-inflammatory drugs combined with other therapies. However, current therapies have limited effectiveness. A recent study conducted by Phuong Le et al. has shown that allogeneic umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cell transplantation is both a safe and effective treatment option for both moderate to severe COPD (Chronic Obtrusive Pulmonary Disease) patients. (1)
Twenty patients were enrolled in the study, patients were infused with expanded allogeneic umbilical cord tissue derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). All patients were followed for 6 months after the first infusion. The treatment end-point included a comprehensive safety evaluation, pulmonary function testing (PFT), and quality-of-life indicators including questionnaires, the 6-min walk test (6MWT), and systemic inflammation assessments. All patients completed the full infusion and 6-month follow-up.
The study concluded that MSC treatment was safe. There were no infusion-related toxicities, deaths, or severe adverse events occurred that were deemed related to UC-MSC administration. The UC-MSC-transplanted patients showed a significantly reduced Modified Medical Research Council score, COPD assessment test, and number of exacerbations. This study showed that allogeneic non-HLA-matched UC-MSC transplantation is a safe treatment that improved the quality of life of COPD patients. This clinical study was the first to use allogeneic MSCs from umbilical cord tissue to treat COPD.
Cost of stem cell therapy for COPD
The best option for COPD patients is to find patient-funded clinical trials for COPD or chronic inflammation. Stem cell therapy for COPD costs $25,000 USD at DVC Stem. When researching stem cell clinics for COPD, it is essential to ask how many cells are included in the treatment protocol and what type of cells the patient will be receiving.
Studies have shown that expanded cord tissue-derived mesenchymal cells have incredibly high anti-inflammatory properties and tissue regeneration capabilities. When delivered, intravenously MSCs (mesenchymal stem cells) will travel to the lungs (or any area of inflammation) and combat the issue. Currently, Medicare does not cover the cost of stem cell therapy for COPD.
Want to learn more about stem cell therapy for COPD at DVC Stem?
DVC Stem is a stem cell therapy pioneer, offering stem cell therapies for years and has become a cornerstone of the medical tourism industry. Located in the tropical paradise of Grand Cayman in the Western Caribbean, we offer patients a nearby alternative to traveling long distances and to less ideal locations. Our protocols are IRB approved, and our cells come from regulated, US-based, FDA compliant laboratories. We seek to offer the highest quality products, the latest available treatments for a variety of conditions, all combined with a world-class setting and service. We administer over 300 million cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells via IV, our treatments are minimally invasive, and we offer interest-free financing for US residents. Find out if you are eligible for stem cell therapy at DVC Stem
(1) Le Thi Bich, P., Nguyen Thi, H., Dang Ngo Chau, H., Phan Van, T., Do, Q., Dong Khac, H., Le Van, D., Nguyen Huy, L., Mai Cong, K., Ta Ba, T., Do Minh, T., Vu Bich, N., Truong Chau, N., & Van Pham, P. (2020, February 13). Allogeneic umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cell transplantation for treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a pilot clinical study. Stem cell research & therapy. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7020576/.
(2) Learn About COPD. American Lung Association. (n.d.). https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/copd/learn-about-copd.
(3) Coleman, J. (n.d.). Autologous Stem Cell Therapy & its Effects on COPD: A Pilot Study. Lung Institute - White Paper. https://lunginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/160113_WhitePaper.pdf.
(4) Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD). (2021). 2021 Report: Global strategy for the diagnosis, management, and prevention of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Retrieved from https://goldcopd.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/GOLD-2021-v1.7-FINAL-revised-2021Jan29.pdf
(5) Mayo Clinic. (2021). COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/copd/symptoms-causes/syc-20353679
(6) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2018). COPD: Diagnosis and management. Retrieved from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/copd-diagnosis-and-management
(7) International Society for Stem Cell Research. (2021). Stem cell therapies for COPD. Retrieved from https://www.isscr.org/patients/disease-information/copd