Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), is a medical term used to describe a group of chronic, inflammatory lung diseases including: emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory asthma and bronchiectasis. Conventional therapies include; a combination of pharmaceutical drugs including inhaled corticosteroids, lifestyle changes, oxygen and as a last resort, surgery. Conventional therapies can help alleviate some symptoms of COPD but they do not stop the progression of the disease nor are they curative. The experienced practitioners at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute believe stem cell therapy is a safe and effective alternative to traditional pharmaceutical therapy including inhaled corticosteroids.
Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), frequently prescribed for patients with COPD, reduce inflammation and mucus. The recommendations for appropriate use of inhaled corticosteroids include:
- Patients with severe-to-very-severe airflow limitation and/or frequent exacerbations that cannot be adequately controlled by long-acting bronchodilators alone
- Patients with severe-to-very-severe airflow limitation and/or frequent exacerbations that result in more than 1 hospitalization in a year.
- Patients with both asthma and COPD.
If these criteria were strictly applied by treating physicians, approximately 40% of patients with COPD would be candidates for these medications however, despite these recommendations, 80% of patients with COPD are prescribed an inhaled corticosteroid. A new study suggests that ICS inhalers increase the risk of lung infections caused by nontuberculous mycobacteria.
Researchers in Ontario, Canada conducted a study to see if inhaled corticosteroids use was associated with an increased risk of nontuberculous mycobacterial pulmonary disease (NTM-PD) or tuberculosis (TB). ICS use was not associated with an increased risk of developing tuberculosis but results published in 2017, in the European Respiratory Journal showed patients over the age of 66 with asthma, COPD, or asthma and COPD treated with inhaled corticosteroids were twice as likely to be diagnosed with nontuberculous mycobacteria.
Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are naturally-occurring organisms found in water and soil. NTM lung infection occurs when a person inhales the organism from their environment. Most people do not become ill but for some, a slowly progressive and destructive disease can occur. NTM is rare but can be very difficult to treat and are resistant to many common antibiotics.
For patients looking for a safe and effective alternative to pharmaceutical drugs, stem cell treatment, at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute, along with lifestyle modification can improve the symptoms of COPD. The hallmark of COPD is chronic pulmonary and systemic inflammation. Mesenchymal stem cells modulate the immune system and decrease inflammation, improving lung function. Stem cell treatment increases your respiratory capacity and breathing improves over a period of several weeks. For one example of the benefit of stem cell therapy in a patient with COPD, read the story from the September 26 news update “Take a Breath with Stem Cells- A true story”.
The Stem Cells Transplant Institute uses adipose derived autologous mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Autologous means the stem cells are collected from the recipient so the risk of rejection is virtually eliminated. Mesenchymal stem cells are one type of adult stem cells that are found in a variety of tissues including; adipose tissue, lung, bone marrow, and blood. Adipose derived stem cells have been found to be safe with no serious adverse events and are currently being used in 7 out of 11 ongoing COPD trials.
Stem cell treatment at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute is a safe, non-invasive, same-day procedure that takes only a few hours. Contact us today to see if stem cell therapy can help you breathe easier.