Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder, or COPD, is a common disease suffered mostly by current or former cigarette smokers. COPD can be debilitating, limiting lung function and restricting activity. Current treatments for COPD only slightly improve symptoms and do not have an affect on mortality rate. Here are some ways that researchers are trying to use stem cells to restore lung function.
How Stem Cells are Used
Stem cells are differentiated into several different types of lung cells. These lung cells can be grown in a dish or in the body, and utilized by the lungs to try to improve lung function. Stem cells for these therapies generally come from the patient’s own body, although some clinical trials have used stem cells from donated umbilical cords in combination with immunosuppressant drugs.
Clinical Trials to This Point
There have been a lot of clinical trials using stem cells to treat COPD. Thus far, most of these clinical trials have not moved past the first stage. The clinical trials that have moved to the second stage have not had positive results. However, there could be many reasons for this, including determining appropriate candidates for the treatment. More trials are being performed currently in the United States and abroad.
Not FDA Approved
Stem cell therapy for COPD is not yet an FDA approved treatment. There are some doctors and clinics that are offering stem cell therapy for COPD at a high out of pocket cost that is not covered by insurance. It is a good idea to avoid these clinics because the treatment you are getting may not be safe or effective.
Instead, if you are interested in trying to improve your lung function with COPD with stem cell therapy, look into current clinical trials to determine if you could be a potential candidate.