On May 14th, the Lung Institute celebrated its third anniversary. Setting a new standard in the treatment of lung disease since opening its doors in 2013, the Lung Institute has remained a fixture of alternative stem cell treatment for those suffering from chronic lung disease. Now, three years later, we look back at just how much the Lung Institute and the field of stem cell therapy have grown.
So, What is Chronic Lung Disease?
Let’s start with the problem of chronic lung disease—particularly COPD—which is the third among the leading causes of death in the U.S, and unfortunately, has no known cure. Stemming from causes such as smoking, secondhand smoke, air pollution or simply genetics, chronic lung disease is a debilitating and degenerative condition that works to gradually restrict breathing and ultimately diminish quality of life.
Around the world, roughly 600 million people (typically 40 and older) currently suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Of those diagnosed with the disease, many can anticipate their life expectancy to be sharply reduced without some form of medical intervention. Symptoms to be expected from the disease include: shortness of breath, cough, exercise intolerance and reduced quality of life. And despite the hard facts of increased respiratory decline, the direct human toll of these symptoms can often mean excessive difficulty in simple tasks, such as showering and household chores, frequent flare-ups, fits of coughing and ultimately fewer days with grandchildren and other loved ones.
Traditional Treatment Options
Despite the scope of this disease, unfortunately, little progress has been made in treating it with traditional medication. Offerings such as inhalers and prescription pills are often insufficient, serving only to alleviate symptoms rather than slow the progression of the disease itself.
For many suffering from chronic lung disease, the realities of the disease can inspire hopelessness. However, the field of stem cell therapy has grown dramatically in recent years, with the hopes of addressing these issues, while working to target the progression of the disease itself.
Although the field of stem cell therapy has seen rapid development in the last five years, it is a science that has been in practice since the 1950s, when its use to address diseases such as leukemia were called “bone marrow transplants.” Fundamentally, stem cell therapy is the practice of collecting naturally occurring builder cells—or stem cells—that exist within the blood and bone marrow. The cells are then reintroduced into the body via the bloodstream into areas of damage or inflammation, where they can settle and promote healing.
Within three years and with over 2,500 patients treated, the Lung Institute has utilized the field of stem cell therapy to restore the lives of those who have been previously crippled by disease, giving back hope to thousands that had previously given up. And with three years in, and more to come, there should be no limit to the inspiration of hope.