Four Lung Institute facilities in Tampa, Scottsdale, Nashville and Pittsburg, treat restrictive and obstructive lung diseases using stem cells from the patient’s own body.
Gary V., a patient, has seen his quality of life improve since he receive stem cell therapy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
For Gary, “improvement” is more healthy, happier days.
COPD is a progressive form of lung disease ranging from mild to severe and characterized by a restriction of airflow into and out of the lungs that makes breathing difficult. Two main forms of COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
There is currently no cure for COPD, but treatment options such as stem cell therapy can prevent more damage and improve the patient’s quality of life.
A pilot report of the Lung Institute called Autologous Stem Cell Therapy and its Effects on COPD, indicates that 82% of patients with the disease had improvements in their quality of life after stem cell therapy. The level of improvement varies from patient to patient.
“In the practice of medicine, we use standardized treatments on unique individuals, and as a result, responses to treatments do vary,” said Dr. Jack Coleman, medical director of the Lung Institute clinic in Nashville. “When the responses of a large population of patients are presented as a graph, we see the bell-shaped curve where one extreme represents those patients with a very-good-to-excellent response to treatment, and the other extreme represents those with little or no response to treatment. The majority of patients are somewhere in the middle.”
Stem cell therapy is a strategy that introduces new adult stem cells into damaged tissue in order to treat disease or injury. The treatments have the potential to change the face of human disease and alleviate suffering. While stem cell therapy can help with COPD symptoms, it is not a definite cure for chronic lung disease.
“There are times when you still get a flare-up, where you have to take a break,” Gary noted. “It’s not a miracle cure. It’s not something that you are going to take, and the next day you’re cured.”
Still, for many patients, stem cell therapy is the best currently available treatment option.
Many patients of COPD have trouble walking short distances and are especially susceptible to illness and pneumonia. Often, patients need oxygen support 24 hours per day and daily medications. In sever cases, a more drastic measure is required – lung transplant. With lung transplant, the first-year survival rate is 78%; three-year survival is 63%; five years is 51%.
While some patients’ reviews indicate improvements in lung function and capability to live a normal life, not all results are home runs.
“As practitioners, we constantly strive to shift the bell curve in the direction of the excellent responders and reduce the poor or non-responders,” Dr. Coleman noted. “We do this through constant surveillance of the latest research and literature reports, and modify our protocols based on this information. We also examine those who do not respond well to determine factors that may allow us to offer more effective treatments to those individuals in the future. In doing so, we have improved our response rate from just over 70% 16 months ago to 85% now . . . Improvement is a constant process in medicine.”
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