Stem cell treatment has offered hope to thousands of patients suffering from debilitating, sometimes terminal, cases of chronic lung diseases. Lifestyles After 50 provides a case study of one patient who had been using oxygen around the clock and could not breathe on his own. After he participated in the Lung Institute’s stem cell therapy, he no longer needs auxiliary oxygen at all.
Let’s take a look at how stem cell therapy works. Self-replicating stem cells are essential to every living organism. Adult stem cells are building blocks with the ability to duplicate any tissue type in the body, a process called plasticity. Plasticity is very useful in regenerative medicine. Adult stem cells can form differentiated cells that, when returned to the patient, can promote the healing for lung tissue. This potentially improves lung function.
The Lung Institute uses autologous stem cells derived directly from the patient’s body. Medical personnel harvest stem cells from a patient’s blood or bone marrow. According to BCM.edu, these cells are separated before being re-introduced intravenously. Once in the patient’s body, stem cells promote healing in the lung tissue.
The science of this treatment has received a windfall by using a natural process in our bodies. When we receive medication, blood, or other substances intravenously, it travels to the right side of the heart. During this process, through a phenomenon called the pulmonary trap, some of the substance in trapped in the lungs. This is a problem for medication targeted at other areas of the body. However, for stem cell therapy, it is a boon. It only takes two heartbeats to push stem cells straight to the lungs. As your circulatory system kicks into gear, the stem cells are distributed throughout the body. Stem cells that get trapped in the lungs are where they are meant to be for stem cell therapy. This is great news for patients who want to slow down the progression of chronic pulmonary diseases.
The Lung Institute, based in Tampa, FL, was founded in 2013. To date, the institute has treated over 2,000 patients, with 82 percent reporting an improvement in their overall quality of life. The Lung Institute treats major pulmonary conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, chronic bronchitis and pulmonary fibrosis.