Innovations in Cellular Therapy for COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD ranks as the third leading cause of death in the United States trailing just behind heart disease and cancer. For most COPD patients vigilance symptom management means better quality of life. However, progression of the disease is inevitable. For patients like Larry disease progression is the only sure thing about COPD, take a look. Well, I first was diagnosed with COPD in 2004. I had already stopped running just about that time just simply because it’s so difficult for me to catch my breath and continue on. It seems like every year I noticed a little bit of a change even over the last year or two I noticed a change from one year to the next little less capacity to breathe. It affected my lifestyle, mostly because I was active with physical training and of classes for physical training for seniors and it was getting to the point where I couldn’t exert during those and even simple things like working around the yard I would get up I’d have to stop and catch my breath sometimes just go back down just to be able to breathe for a moment.

COPD is always progressive but then aging is as well and if you can stop the COPD rapid progression then I would progress normally in lung function and that’s really what I was looking, for a way for me not to have to rely on extraordinary means to catch my breath and to me feel better. Patients like Larry are not alone, in fact COPD affects over 24 million Americans. Despite advances in medicine the standard of care for COPD treatment has remained relatively unchanged over the past few decades leaving patients with few options. What if there was a way to potentially slow the progression of the disease using the patient’s own stem cells? Well joining me today to discuss the alternative to traditional treatment options for COPD is Dr. James St. Louis from the Lung Institute. Doctor, thank you so much for joining us today. Thank you for having me Ereka. So let’s get right to it doctor, what exactly is COPD and what are the current treatments? COPD is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema and the traditional treatments right now would be nebulizers, medication, and a variety of other treatments that treat the symptoms of the disease.

To actually treat the disease would be a lung transplant. At the Lung Institute we treat the COPD in other lung diseases with stem cell therapy. Stem cells are the body’s natural healing cells they reduce the inflammation in your body. Inflammation causes many diseases in the body so you can use your own cells to decrease the inflammation. So the process of harvesting stem cell sounds incredibly complicated, what is that process like? It’s actually very simple, you can take your blood and separate the stem cells out and the other way of doing it is using your bone marrow which is also a very simple procedure and then we separate out the stem cells and then put them back into your body using an IV. So how are you getting the stem cells to target the lung specifically? Stem cells after we harvest them and return them into your body when they circulate to the right side of your heart and then from the right side of the heart they’re pushed into the lungs but the stem cells go into a part of the lung called a pulmonary trap and they stay in this pulmonary trap and then they are dispersed primarily to the lung.

So, then what are the risks and what are the results? The risks are very minimal if you just sit back and think about it because it’s your own cells. Right. You’re not introducing anything foreign into your body suit the risks are very minimal. The results show at about three months, the patients have an increased quality of life. Some people had fairly severe disease and they were on oxygen 24 hours a day so now they’re on oxygen much less, but they can go simple things, I go to the grocery store, do day-to-day activities versus how they were before. So, what is the ultimate goal at the Lung Institute? Our goal from the technical part is to increase in some cases your lung function which goes hand-in-hand with increasing your quality of life. This sounds like a great option for so many people and we met with Larry at the top of the show if you remember so let’s check in with him again to see how he’s doing.

In 2014 my condition was progressing of course to the point where I couldn’t participate in things as well as I wanted to and I did read an ad in the newspaper about Lung Institute. I made the decision to proceed and the procedure was very simple, straightforward, and not uncomfortable at all. They asked me to keep a journal and the results of that was that I saw that over a period of about three weeks I gradually had some improvement in lung function and ability to do my exercise programs. After my last treatment I had really good results and before that I couldn’t breathe very well and had to let up and rest during my aerobic exercises but right after the treatment I found that I was able to do the whole exercise and I didn’t have any problem with breathing.

With the positive results I’ve had, I really look forward to the future perhaps we can get more involved in stem cells, perhaps we can actually make better things happen and I’m really hopeful for the future particularly not from necessarily for myself but for others who may have problems similar to mine that there is may be a path to recovery. We are so happy to see that Larry is doing well now Doctor the Lung Institute uses stem cell therapy to treat other lung diseases as well? That’s correct. We treat major pulmonary lung diseases which as I said before COPD which is emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and then we also treat interstitial lung disease, which one of those is pulmonary fibrosis.

For those out there who are suffering from COPD or other lung disease they now know that there’s an alternative thank you doctor so much for joining us! For more on the alternative treatment options discussed here today go to lung institute dot com and of course you can find all of these resources on our website as well access health dot TV. Thank you so much doctor! (Music).