Stem Cells for the Lungs
Stem Cell Therapy for the Lungs
The Treatment of COPD or Emphysema with Stem Cells
Pulmonary Fibrosis treated with Stem Cells
Lung Disease patients eventually become very short of breath, becoming oxygen dependent with very limited functional capacity. Recurring infections requiring hospitalizations become frequent. Patient’s only options are a lung transplant, medications or possibly no other option at all. Most patients with these lung conditions end up passing away as their lungs just continue to deteriorate. In some patients there may be overlap of other lung disease as well. For instance, in a patient treated for COPD there may be a bit of pulmonary hypertension or pulmonary fibrosis. The correct treatment depends on diagnosing the predominant factor. The Stem Cells are processed differently for each of theses diseases.
Many patients that receive stem cell treatment for their lungs feel improvements right away. This is mainly because stem cells are both anti-inflammatory and nutritive, so they help with inflammation as well as stimulating the existing cells in the damaged lung. Most treated patients tell Dr. Grekos that on their return trip home from stem cell treatment they felt better and were able to walk further and do more things. Then as time goes on the stem cells mature and they take on the regeneration of the lung tissue.
The majority of patients that Dr. Grekos treats for their lungs usually require only a single stem cell treatment (except CF patients). Of course, this depends on how severe the disease progression is and how long the patient has had it. Dr. Grekos’ first lung patient was treated in 2008. This patient had a combination of pulmonary hypertension and emphysema. He was 42 at the time, an active realtor with two young daughters. He has not been treated since, maintains an active lifestyle, successful real estate business, and has his quality of life back to this day. He is a pioneer and has opened the door for many more patients to be treated.
COPD or Emphysema Treated by Stem Cells
In patients that have emphysema, or COPD, the elastin and collagen in the lungs, which is the main supporting structure, has been destroyed. It is usually from smoking or sometimes a genetic disease (Alpha1 Anti-trypsin Deficiency). The lungs are over inflated and the alveolus, the area where the oxygen exchange occurs, has no supporting tissue to keep them expanded. When we treat patients with adult stem cells, these cells will actually regenerate collagen and elastin throughout the lungs. In genetic conditions family donor stem cells must also be used.
The results we see after stem cell treatment is less air trapping, decreased need for supplemental oxygen and increased respiratory volume, as well as significant improvements in the pulmonary function tests (PFTs). Patients are able to take easier, deeper breaths, and they do not have to work as hard to breathe.
That means, they need less oxygen and many times patients can be taken off oxygen completely. In addition there is a significant reduction in the amount of nebulizers, medications and hospitalizations needed after a stem cell treatment.
In cases of pulmonary hypertension, there is an elevation of pressures in the circulation of the lungs. When we don’t have a reason for it that is called “idiopathic” or “primary” pulmonary hypertension as the cause is not known. When the cause is known it is termed “secondary” pulmonary hypertension. Causes such as an autoimmune disease, a congenital anomaly or blood clots that went to the lungs are the most common.
Pulmonary Hypertension, when treated with stem cells will heal existing damaged blood vessels and regenerate new vessels. This results in a significant drop in pulmonary pressure.
Stem Cell Treatment for Pulmonary Fibrosis
Chronic inflammation of the lungs leads to pulmonary fibrosis. There may be many causes for the inflammation, such as infections, chemicals, allergies, or autoimmune disease. The inflammation leads to scarring of the lungs. Eventually it becomes very hard to take a breath and the need for supplemental oxygen grows. Stem cell treatment decreases the inflammation, reverses some of the fibrosis, improves oxygen exchange and relaxes the lungs, so that patients can take deeper easier breaths and need less oxygen. Stem Cells can also stop the progression of the disease.
Cystic Fibrosis is due to a genetic abnormality that causes the lungs and other organs, such as the pancreas, to produce very thick secretions and mucous. This results in chronic infections that scar the lungs. Using stem cells results in repair of some of the damage that has been caused, a decrease in the inflammation and with healthy normal mucous producing donor cells populating the patient’s lungs resulting in thinner and clearer mucous. We blood test relatives for the closest match. The treated patients see less infections and hospitalizations, improved PFT’s, deeper breaths, increased physical ability, more energy, less coughing, weight gain and less sleeping.