25 Apr Stem Cells and COPD
Stem Cells and COPD
Stem Cells are also known as regenerative cells as they have the great ability of regeneration. These are biological cells and found in the various tissues like blood, liver, skeletal muscles, skin, bone marrow and brain. These cells have the capability to discriminate between other specialized cells by the process of cellular differentiation. These cells provide a repair mechanism to the human body by regenerating cells.
Types of Stem Cells
There are different types of stem cells which are formed in different parts of our body. Mainly we have four kinds of stem cells.
Embryonic Stem Cells
These cells have the ability to develop into any kind of body cell except umbilical cord and placenta. These are derived from blastocyst i.e. after the 3-5 days of fertilization. At this stage, embryo consists of around 150 cells. In order to get the desired cell, these cells need specific instructions.
Possible benefits for COPD with Stem Cell Therapy
COPD causes one or more the following changes in the lungs and airways:
1. The air sacs and airways lose their ability to stretch.
2. The walls of the air sacs are destroyed.
3. The walls of the airways become thickened and inflamed.
4. The airways become clogged with mucus.
5. These changes reduce the amount of air flowing into and out of the lungs, depriving the body of much-needed oxygen and making it increasingly harder to breathe.
Stem cells may benefit people with COPD by:
- Reducing inflammation in the airways, which may help prevent further damage
- Building new, healthy lung tissue, which can replace any damaged tissue in the lungs
- Stimulating the formation of new capillaries, which are small blood vessels, in the lungs; this may lead to improved lung function
Current research on COPD and stem cell therapy
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t approved any stem cell treatments for people with COPD, and clinical trials haven’t advanced beyond phase II. Phase II is where researchers try to learn more about whether a treatment works and its side effects. It’s not until phase III that the treatment in question is compared to other medications used to treat the same condition.
CLINIC STUDIES In animals
In pre-clinical studies involving animals, a type of stem cell known as the mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) or mesenchymal stromal cell proved to be the most promising. MSCs are connective tissue cells that can transform into various cell types, from bone cells to fat cells. According to a 2018 literature review, rats and mice who’d undergone transplantation with MSCs typically experienced reduced airspace enlargement and inflammation. Airspace enlargement is a result of COPD, and emphysema in particular, destroying the walls of the lungs’ air sacs.
clinical trials In humans
Clinical trials in humans have yet to reproduce the same positive results that were observed in animals. Researchers have attributed this to multiple factors. For example:
- The pre-clinical studies largely used animals with only mild COPD-like disease, while the clinical trials looked at humans with moderate to severe COPD.
- The animals received higher doses of MSCs, relative to their body weights, than the humans. That being said, clinical studies for other conditions suggest that higher doses of stem cells don’t always lead to better results.
- There were inconsistencies in the types of MSCs used. For instance, some studies used frozen or newly thawed stem cells while others used fresh ones.
- While there’s no strong evidence yet that stem cell treatment can improve the health of people with COPD, there’s also no strong evidence that stem cell transplantation is unsafe.
Research continues in this direction, with the hope that more carefully designed clinical trials will yield different results.
Researchers envision that stem cells may one day be used to generate new, healthy lungs in people with chronic lung disease. It may take several years of research before stem cell treatment can be attempted in people with COPD. However, if this treatment comes to fruition, people with COPD may no longer have to go through painful and risky lung transplant surgeries. It may even pave the way for finding a cure for COPD.
Stem cell therapy for COPD in 2020
It is possible to help patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease with Mesenchymal Stem Cells. When administered intravenously stem cells have the ability to promote healing and regeneration by excreting messenger cells called “cytokines”.
Stem cell therapy for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD or Lung Disease)
Stem cells have the unique ability to change into any cell in the body, called differentiation. They can be administered intravenously and find damaged tissues around organs. When used in regards to COPD patients, stem cells can repair damaged lung tissue to combat emphysema or chronic bronchitis. Stem cells have natural anti-inflammatory properties, which can clear airways for those with chronic bronchitis.
Completed studies have shown the ability to quantify the effects of stem cell therapy. According to a report done by the Lung Institute called Autologous Stem Cell Therapy and its Effects on COPD, over 82% of patients that attempted stem cell treatment had noticeable improvements in their quality of life after their therapies. Many of these patients reported increased lung capacity and the ability to walk following transfusion. These reports have positioned stem cells as one of the best viable options for current patients with COPD. While stem cell treatment has not shown the ability to cure COPD, its ability to repair damaged tissue and relatively invasive nature makes it an attractive alternative to patients. This path becomes even more desirable when considering the current treatment protocols requiring the use of ventilators or even total lung transplants, which are rare and extremely expensive.
What is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease? (COPD or Lung Disease)
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD or Lung Disease) can describe a group of lung conditions (diseases) that may inhibit the body’s ability to remove air from the lungs. COPD can lead to symptoms such as; fatigue and shortness of breath (breathlessness). Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD or Lung Disease) can be used to describe a person with emphysema, chronic bronchitis, or a combination of the two.
The primary cause of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD or Lung Disease) is tobacco smoke, either active smoking or secondhand smoke. Inhaling smoke or other airborne irritants or pollutants can increase mucus production in one’s bronchial tubes (bronchi), this can cause inflammation in the form of thickening bronchi walls. Symptoms of increased mucus production in the bronchial tubes include; frequently coughing, resulting in raising mucus (phlegm). COPD can develop over long periods or a short period when pollutants are inhaled in excess. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD or Lung Disease) may also be caused by other environmental factors such as; exposure to dust, air pollution, and airborne chemicals.
How Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD or Lung Disease) is diagnosed?
As stated by the American Lung Association;
“Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) includes both chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Most individuals with COPD have a little bit of both but have a predominance of one or the other. Your doctor will ask questions about your family history with respiratory illnesses, your symptoms, and the medicines you use, and ask questions about your lifestyle. He or she will conduct a physical exam and order some laboratory tests to diagnose and assess the severity of your COPD.
In 2008, 13.1 million US adults (ages 18 and over) were estimated to have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD or Lung Disease). However, close to 24 million US adults have evidence of impaired lung function, indicating an under-diagnosis of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD or Lung Disease).
In 2008, an estimated 9.8 million Americans reported a physician diagnosis of chronic bronchitis, the inflammation, and eventual scarring of the lining of the bronchial tubes. Chronic bronchitis affects people of all ages, although people age 65 and older have the highest rate at 56.3 per 1,000 population.”
As of today, there has been no proven cure for COPD; however modern advances in stem cell therapies have yielded promising results.
Cost of Stem cell therapy for COPD
The best option for COPD patients is to find patient-funded clinical trials for COPD or chronic inflammation. Stem cell therapy for COPD can cost anywhere from $10000 – $35,000 depending on the nature of the treatment and the clinic. When researching stem cell clinics for COPD, it is essential to ask how many cells are included in the treatment protocol and what type of cells the patient will be receiving. Studies have shown that expanded cord tissue-derived mesenchymal cells have incredibly high anti-inflammatory properties and tissue regeneration capabilities. When delivered, intravenously MScs (mesenchymal stem cells) will travel to the lungs (or any area of inflammation) and combat the issue. Currently, Medicare does not cover the cost of stem cell therapy for COPD.