Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has been related to a number of morbidities such as pulmonary embolism, pneumonia, lung cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and psychological disorders, however, the association of these comorbidities and COPD is not well understood. There has been a lot of variability in the reported prevalence for these comorbidities additionally, smoking is a risk factor for COPD and many of the associated comorbidities, making it difficult to for physicians to understand the relationship between COPD and other disease.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD, is a medical term used to describe a group of chronic, inflammatory lung diseases including; emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory asthma and bronchiectasis. It is the fourth leading cause of death in the world,1 and is projected to be the third most common cause of death by 2020.  The main cause of COPD is long-term exposure to substances that irritate and damage the lungs. Long-term cigarette smoking is the biggest risk factor for developing COPD but additional risk factors include; exposure to second hand smoke, chemical fumes, dust, age and genetics. The two most common types of COPD are emphysema and bronchitis.

In 2010, using the United Kingdom’s National Health Service database, researchers evaluated 30,000 patients diagnosed with COPD to see if they were at increased risk for cardiac or cerebrovascular events compared when compared to 1.1 million individuals without COPD. The results showed COPD was associated with a significant increased risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke when compared to patients without COPD. Most surprising was the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke was greatest in patient that had never smoked. In the study, 40% of patients with COPD had at least 1 vascular comorbidity.2

Four years later in 2012, a study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine followed 1,664 patients for over 2 years and found the 12 comorbidities closely associated with and increased risk of death in patients with COPD are; cancers of the lung, pancreas, esophagus, and breast, heart failure, coronary artery disease, gastric/duodenal ulcers, cirrhosis of the liver, diabetes, and anxiety.3

More recently, researchers in Spain published their results from a study comparing more than 27,000 patients age 40 years and older, diagnosed with COPD to a similar number of age and sex matched individuals without the diagnosis of COPD. They compared the two groups looking at the cumulative number of comorbidities, their prevalence, and the risk of mortality. Results showed patients with the diagnosis of COPD on average, two or more comorbidities than individuals without COPD and females have a higher number of comorbidities than males. The risk of additional comorbidities increases with age. Seventy-two percent of COPD patients between the ages of 40 and 44, have at least 1 additional chronic disease while 50% of patients without COPD do not have any chronic disease. Furthermore, almost 60% of patients age 40-44 with COPD had two or more chronic diseases. Additionally, patients with COPD were at significantly greater risk of death when compare to age matched non- COPD individuals.

Global clinical research using stem cell therapy has grown dramatically in the last few years. Researchers are uncovering new ways to apply stem cell therapy for people affected by chronic conditions such as COPD, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The experts at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute use mesenchymal stem cells to treat COPD.

Stem cells are a type of undifferentiated cell that are able to differentiate into specialized cell types. Stem cells can be guided into becoming a specific type of cell allowing physicians trained in the field of regenerative medicine to use stem cells to repair the diseased or damaged tissue in your lungs as a result of COPD.

Mesenchymal stem cells have the ability to:

  • Promote self-healing
  • Have potent anti-inflammatory capabilities
  • Modulate abnormal immune system responses
  • Prevent additional premature cell and tissue damage
  • Reduce scarring
  • Stimulate new blood vessel growth improving blood flow

Stem cell therapy, at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute, may reduce some of the symptoms associated with COPD and may lead to a number of quality-of-life improvements including:

  • Easier breathing
  • Improved lung function
  • Increased energy
  • Improved stamina
  • Reduced coughing and wheezing
  • Reduced number of infections

Stem cell treatment, at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute, along with lifestyle modification may help 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, restoring oxygen-rich blood flow and improving lung function. Contact us today to learn more about stem cell transplant therapy for COPD.



  1. Cheng et al. Mesenchymal Stem Cell Administration in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: State of the Science Stem Cells International. Volume 2017, Article ID 8916570.
  2. Feary JR, Rodrigues LC, Smith CJ, et al., Prevalence of major comorbidities in subjects with COPD and incidence of myocardial infarction and stroke: a comprehensive analysis using data from primary care. Thorax 2010;65:956-962.
  3. Divo MJ, et al., Comorbidities and Risk of Mortality in Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. Online April 19, 2012.
  4. Divo MJ, et al., Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) as a disease of early aging: Evidence from the EpiChron Cohort. PLoS ONE 13(2): e0193143.