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Let’s Investigate Stem Cell Treatment

So, they draw your blood. They take it to a lab and extract stems cells from it and do a few other things. A while later they inject these stem cells back into you. They somehow make it to your lungs. Over time your lung tissue regrows and you can breathe easy again. That’s the goal of stem cell therapy. So, what’s the reality?

It certainly does sound promising, doesn’t it? And I certainly hope it becomes a reality, and soon if possible. I don’t even have to imagine how much joy it would bring to people with COPD. I know! I know because I see the glow in their eyes as they tell me about it.

For the duration of their stories, that glow shows me that they feel like kids on Christmas morning. Though, rather than toys, the gift they yearn to receive from Santa is easy breathing. It’s the promise of more years to spend with their own children and grandchildren.

Is this a possibility?

Yes. It is a possibility. Yet it will probably be more complicated than what I described in the opening paragraph. It might involve a transbronchial biopsy. Your doctor will be able to do it in his office, maybe. They put a bronchoscope down your airway and extract lung cells. It has to be lung cells because that’s what you want to regenerate.

Then you go home. You wait.

So, they take these cells into a lab, as noted above. Yes, that part of the dream is true. From here, they do something with your cells. They put them in tubes, perhaps, or Petrie dishes. Then they create an environment where these stem cells replicate. They then wait until there are millions of these stem cells.

Then you go back to your doctor. You are scheduled for an infusion. An infusion is where an IV is inserted into your arm, and a substance (in this case stem cells) is inserted into your venous system.

The nurse inserts an IV into your arm. Then, with the doctor watching, she uses a syringe and draws up your stem cells from a vial. Of course, this vial has your name on it. It’s your stem cells after all. And then they are injected into your IV right into your venous blood system.

Millions of lung stem cells are racing through your bloodstream now. They travel up your arm. They take the turn towards your aorta and heart. Finally, they make it into your lungs. Here they feel at home and begin to work their magic: They start replacing and repairing lung tissue. Your lungs begin the healing process.

Future infusions would also be needed. It might be once a week, once a month, or maybe even once a year.

So, what’s the reality?

Right now, researchers are in the testing phase. They are doing these experiments on mice. They have seen promising results. They have seen that more healthy lung cells have grown in mice. They have seen less inflammation and less fibrosis of airways. Yes, these are promising results.

But, mice are not humans. So, what happens in mice doesn’t always happen in humans. Sometimes, results in mice occur without adventitious side effects. But, sometimes, when these same tests are performed on humans, different things happen.

So, further studies are definitely needed.

But, it’s a start. It’s a very promising start when it comes to stem cells for COPD.

And there’s more!!!

There are other stem cell strategies researchers are working on too. For instance, unlike blood products, our bodies may not reject stem cells from other people. So, it’s possible a future approach may involve stem cell banks similar to blood banks. Plus there are other types of stem cells that may prove useful for COPD.

So, there’s still lots of work to do in labs. There still lots of studies to be done before researchers can advance to the next step.

The next step will be to find human subjects. This has yet to happen. Researchers are not at this step yet. At some point in the near future, they will call for volunteers. And they will learn if this dream becomes a reality. It certainly sounds promising. And we certainly hope it becomes a reality, and soon.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. Kegel, Magdalena, “North Carolina Advances in Stem Cell Therapy for Lung Diseases Could Lead to Clinical Trial Soon,” 2017, August 22,, accessed 5/23/18
  2. Hackett, et al., “Potential role of stem cells in the management of COPD,” International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, 2010,, accessed 5/23/17


  • cathystutes
    8 months ago

    I went to lung institute in Dallas , had the stem cell treatment experiment
    I didn’t feel different but I learned a lot
    That is the treatment of the future

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    8 months ago

    Hi cathystutes and thanks for your post. That’s exciting that you participated in the stem cell treatment experiment in Dallas. If you’re so inclined, you may want to share your experiences with the community in the ‘stories’ section. If you want to, you can access it here: All the best, Leon (site moderator)

  • Barbara Moore moderator
    8 months ago

    John Bottrell, RRT,
    this is a great fantasy that we hope will become a reality in the new future, but until your doctor tells you about stem cell that is approved, proceed with caution.
    Barbara Moore (Site Moderator)

  • ajschulte
    8 months ago

    That is so wonderful, we are finally given hope, I know that not much has been found yet but hope is hope.

  • John Bottrell, RRT moderator author
    8 months ago

    Agreed. The door is wide open to possibilities. Thanks. John. Site Moderator.

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    8 months ago

    Hi ajschulte – hope keeps one’s spirits up. We’re all looking forward on the research front! Warm regards, Leon (site moderator)

  • Baron
    8 months ago

    Please let this be a Thing. I’m afraid it will be too late for me but for future generations there seems to be some hope of relief from this awful disease..

    I would be first in line!

  • Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT moderator
    8 months ago

    Hi Baron and thanks for your post. We’re all being optimistic moving forward. There’s been a lot of progress in the past 40 years treating obstructive disease that we have all derived great benefit from. We hope the research continues to provide new methods of treatment and medications. Wishing you the best,
    Leon (site moderator)

  • Barbara Moore moderator
    8 months ago

    Hi Baron,
    Leon is right. Science is moving at break speed. A cure could be right around the corner.

    Barbara Moore (Site Moderator)

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