Every day there seems to be a new medical condition being targeted by researchers looking at the efficacy of stem cell treatment. One of the latest to make the news is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It turns out a Tampa, Florida provider of regenerative medicine has been using stem cell therapy to treat COPD patients since 2013.
Regenerative Medicine Solutions (RMS) has had stem cell treatments for COPD in the pipeline for the last four years. During that time, they have treated more than 5,000 patients via an autologous stem cell procedure conducted on an inpatient basis with sessions lasting from 15 to 30 minutes.
RMS is currently engaged in several clinical studies to determine the efficacy of their treatments. Managed Healthcare Executive also says they have pending applications with the National Institutes of Health and the Joint Commission.
Stem Cells and COPD
The main problem with COPD is inflammation of the lungs. Shortness of breath, cough, and regular phlegm production are common symptoms. Most people who suffer from COPD know it as a progressive disease that gets worse over time. This results in a measurable loss of quality of life.
Using stem cell treatments to address COPD is all about reducing that inflammation. The procedure used by RMS is quite simple. First, stem cells are extracted from the patient’s own blood or bone marrow. This autologous material is preferred because it can be used with very little risk of complications. The stem cells are then processed and given back to the patient through an IV.
RMS says that the processed stem cells pass through a pulmonary track upon entering the body. They are captured and put to use by the body, thereby reducing inflammation and improving breathing function.
RMS says that 85% of their patients report improved quality of life after receiving the stem cell treatments. They report easier breathing, more stamina, and being able to do simple things like walking up the stairs and taking a bike ride. But that’s not all. RMS CEO Jimmy St. Louis says his company has scientifically measured medical improvements as well.
Among the patients who receive the treatments, some 25% choose to undergo follow-up treatments at six months. This is a telling statistic. Electing follow-up treatments suggests that those patients are satisfied with the results they experienced the first time around.
There is cautious optimism at RMS that their clinical trials will eventually result in something concrete from the FDA and the NIH. They are also fairly confident of eventually receiving Joint Commission accreditation. But that optimism is cautious optimism.
Right now, the best they can do with stem cell therapy is reduce the inflammation associated with COPD. Their therapy does not help regenerate lung tissue. If it could, they would be looking at an entirely different treatment altogether.
At Apex Biologix in Murray, Utah, cautious optimism is part of the training doctors receive in regenerative medicine procedures like PRP and stem cell therapies. Doctors not only learn the procedures, but they also learn how such procedures can be helpful in treating a range of medical conditions. But just like the COPD treatment offered by RMS, the treatments doctors learn at Apex Biologix are not guaranteed to work for every patient.
In the end, COPD represents yet another promising target for stem cell therapy. As researchers learn more about the disease and how it responds to autologous stem cells, they will undoubtedly come up with more innovative ways to approach the problem. That is the way it goes with regenerative medicine. Progress is slow but steady.