Chronic lung diseases affect patient health, well-being and quality of life. Traditional treatments for illnesses like pulmonary fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and interstitial lung disease treat symptoms, but do not cure the problem. These diseases affect a patient’s ability to complete even the simplest tasks like showering or cooking a meal. According to the Lung Institute website, a handful of clinical trials in the U.S. use stem cell treatment to promote healing in those challenged with these diseases.
Stem cell therapy
Called the building blocks of life, stem cells renew and replicate. They can form any type of body tissue. Stem cells can come from the patient’s own body or from fetal or embryonic tissue. Adult stem cells have a quality called plasticity which means cells from one area of the body can transform to other types of tissue. They are called undifferentiated cells. The Lung Institute, a U.S. heath center, uses adult stem cells from the patient to treat chronic lung diseases. These are harvested from the patient’s bone marrow or blood, then reintroduced to the patient’s body via IV.
The Lung Institute
The Lung Institute focuses specifically on chronic lung diseases. It only uses adult stems cells in its treatments, taking advantage of the plasticity of these undifferentiated cells to foster healing in its patients. Its patients have varying degrees of success, as with any treatment, but the Institute already has its success stories, such as Joseph O., who underwent treatment for pulmonary fibrosis. Read his story on lifestylesafter50.com.
Although according to Cedars, the use of stem cell treatment is new, it shows promise in the treatment of many diseases, including chronic lung diseases. The Lung Institute offers one of the few experienced treatment programs in the country for stem cell therapy for lung diseases. Although not every patient can undergo the treatment, it may help those whose doctor determines stem cell therapy is right for them.