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Stem Cells Offer New Solutions for Lung Disease

As the fourth leading cause of death, projected to be the third by 2020, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major and growing health concern. In fact, COPD impacts more than 5% of the population in most countries, with a $600 billion financial toll. The disease causesexaggerated chronic inflammatory response leading to airway irregularities. As lung function declines, patients will begin to experiencesymptoms of the disease progression such as increase of cough, shortness of breath and mucus production. Additional indicators of COPD include extra-pulmonary complications including cardiovascular disease and depression.

There is no current cure for the disease, yet recent studies suggest that adult stem cells may have the ability to reverse the effects of diseases involving inflammatory or degenerative parts, like COPD. The primary function of adult stem cells is to heal and maintain the health of the tissues they are found in. Existing throughout the body, stem cells can renew themselves through cell division, as well as differentiate into specialized cell types. They can also be harvested from an individual’s own tissues, with the most plentiful source found in adipose (fat) tissue. “In fact, approximately 500 times more stem cells can be obtained from fat than bone marrow.”

aug2017004Stromal vascular fraction (SVF), a mixed population of cells containing most cellular elements of fat, can be isolated and obtained from fat tissue in 30-90 minutes in an out-patient clinic setting. This process can be completed using a mini-lipoaspirate technique, in which “tens to hundreds of millions of adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) can be obtained.” After the procedure and preparation of ADSC, patients can be provided with either an infusion or injection.

After having been exposed to stem cell therapy, many COPD patients are often willing “to receive additional cell infusions if possible, due to a feeling of well-being associated with the injection.” Previous studies have also shown that intravenous infusion of these cultured adipose stem cells can significantly improve smoke exposure-induced emphysema onset and progression.

Utilizing stem cells for regenerative purposes shows limitless potential. Patients now have access to innovate treatments that are compliant, effective and, importantly, safe. The research group involved with the studies have successfully and safely treated more than 7,000 patients. Stem cell treatments have increasing potential to become the optimal form of care concerning most degenerative diseases to truly enhance outcomes and quality of life for millions of individuals around the globe.

 

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