COPD and Inflammatory Lung 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.  

Stem cell transplantation is a promising method for the treatment of inflammatory lung disease including COPD.

Stem cell treatment at 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 do we know about COPD?

copd stem cells treatmenChronic 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.

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 the signs and 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.

Pre-clinical studies evaluating stem cell therapy in animal models suggest mesenchymal stem cells have the ability to regenerate alveolar-like structures, repair emphysematous lungs, and reduce inflammatory responses.

It is likely that mesenchymal stem cells improve lung function through the paracrine effect or by signaling a patient’s cells to secrete molecules such as peptides, extracellular matrix proteins, and growth factors that can help repair and regenerate tissue.

A meta-analysis of 36 different clinical trials found treatment with mesenchymal stem cells to be safe with no significant adverse events or malignant transformations.6

Phase 1 trials have shown a reduction in the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP)4 and another phase 1 trial showed treatment with MSCs increased the expression of CD31, the endothelial cell marker in found in the alveolar septa of emphysematous lung tissue5. These results suggest MSCs have can reduce inflammation and improve angiogenesis to help repair damaged lung tissue in patients with COPD.

According to ClinicalTrials.gov there are currently 23 clinical trials evaluating the safety and/or efficacy of stem cell treatment for COPD and inflammatory lung disease. (https://clinicaltrials.gov)

Stem cell treatment with mesenchymal stem cells, along with lifestyle modification can improve the symptoms of COPD. Stem cell treatment increases your respiratory capacity and breathing improves over a period of several weeks.

What are patients saying?

What is the recommended treatment protocol for COPD and inflammatory lung disease at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute?

The Stem Cells Transplant Institute recommends the use of hUC-MSCs for the treatment of COPD. For optimal results, we recommend a one-day treatment to receive the following:

1cc vial of 30 million mesenchymal stem cells derived from human umbilical cord blood

Antioxidant therapy with vitamin C and glutathione

Ozone therapy

Platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP)

What are the advantages of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells?

  • Abundant supply containing up to 10 times more stem cells than bone marrow or adipose derived stem cells
  • hUC-MSC have immunosuppressors and immunomodulatory properties that allow their use in any individual without rejection- Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) matching is not necessary
  • Greater proliferation ability than adult autologous stem cells
  • They regenerate at a very rapid rate
  • They are young and very adaptive
  • They have not been impacted by the aging process
  • They have not been affected by environmental toxins
  • Umbilical cord stem cells can be administered multiple times over the course of days
  • Eliminates the need to collect stem cells from the patient’s fat or hip bone reducing pain and recovery time

How are the stem cells collected?

We use only umbilical cord stem cells that are derived exclusively from umbilical cord donations. 

The umbilical cord stem cells from are collected after informed consent has been given by the parent, or parents, and only after the delivery of the baby.

The collection follows strict ethical protocols ensuring the stem cells are from safe, reliable sources using a non-invasive, simple and painless procedure.

Once collected, the cord blood is then screened for disease.

How are the stem cells administered?

The stem cells are given through 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.

Scientific 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
  3. Antoniou, K.M., Karagiannis, K., Tsitoura, E., Bibaki, E., Lasithiotaki, I., Proklou, A. … Tzanakis, N. (2018). Clinical applications of mesenchymal stem cells in chronic lung diseases (Review). Biomedical Reports, 8, 314-318. https://doi.org/10.3892/br.2018.1067
  4. Weiss, D.J.; Casaburi, R.; Flannery, R.; LeRoux-Williams, M.; Tashkin, D.P. A placebo-controlled, randomized trial of mesenchymal stem cells in COPD. Chest2013143, 1590–1598.
  5. Stolk, J.; Broekman, W.; Mauad, T.; Zwaginga, J.J.; Roelofs, H.; Fibbe, W.E.; Oostendorp, J.; Bajema, I.; Versteegh, M.I.; Taube, C.; et al. A phase I study for intravenous autologous mesenchymal stromal cell administration to patients with severe emphysema. QJM2016
  6. Lalu, M.M.; McIntyre, L.; Pugliese, C.; Fergusson, D.; Winston, B.W.; Marshall, J.C.; Granton, J.; Stewart, D.J.; Canadian Critical Care Trials Group. Safety of cell therapy with mesenchymal stromal cells (SafeCell): A systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials. PLoS ONE20127, e47559.