Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

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.  The Stem Cells Transplant Institute in Costa Rica, uses adult autologous stem cells for the treatment of COPD.

Stem cell transplantation is a promising method for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and the treatment provided by the Stem Cells Transplant Institute could help improve the signs and symptoms of COPD such as:

  • Shortness of breath, especially during physical activities
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Excess mucus in your lungs
  • Chronic cough
  • Frequent respiratory infections
  • Lack of energy
  • Swelling in ankles, feet or legs
  • Cyanosis or blueness of the lips and fingernails

What is COPD?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the fourth leading cause of death in the world.1 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.

Air travels down your windpipe into your lungs through tubes (bronchi). These tubes divide into smaller tubes and at the end of these smaller tubes (bronchioles) are air sacs (alveoli). Emphysema slowly destroys the air sacs, which interferes with the outward flow of air, while bronchitis causes inflammation and narrowing of the bronchial tubes, allowing mucus to build up. Your lungs rely on the natural elasticity of the bronchial tubes and air sacs to force air out of your body. COPD causes them to lose their elasticity, leaving some air trapped in your lungs when you exhale.

Patients diagnosed with COPD are at risk of developing additional complications including:

  • Respiratory infections
  • Heart problems
  • Lung cancer
  • High blood pressure in lung arteries
  • Depression

Current treatment options provide symptomatic improvement but are not curative. Conventional therapies include; a combination of pharmaceutical drugs, lifestyle changes, oxygen and as a last resort, surgery.

Can stem cell therapy improve symptoms of COPD?

Stem cell treatment 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.

What type of stem cells are used?

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 events2 and are currently being used in 7 out of 11 ongoing trials1.  Mesenchymal stem cells are a promising treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and stem cell treatment at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute may improve the symptoms of COPD.

How are the stem cells collected?

A team of stem cell experts developed an FDA approved method and protocol for harvesting and isolating adipose derived stem cells for autologous reimplantation. The collection and use of adult stem cells does not require the destruction of embryos and for this reason, more U.S. federal funding is being spent on stem cell research.

How are the stem cells administered?

Intravenous administration and intrapulmonary administration using a nebulizer.

About the Stem Cells Transplant Institute

Costa Rica has one of the best healthcare systems in world and is ranked among the highest for medical tourism. Using the most advanced technologies, the team of experts at The Stem Cells Transplant Institute believes in the potential of stem cell therapy for the treatment of COPD. We are committed to providing personalized service and the highest quality of care to every patient.

 

References:

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. 14pages. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/8916570. 2. Weiss et al. A Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Trial of Mesenchymal Stem Cells in COPD. CHEST 2013; 143(6):1590–1598

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