Autologous Adipose Stem Cell Therapy for COPD
Adipose-derived stem cell therapy is used for many orthopedic conditions. Now, doctors have found this treatment works well for improving chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) symptoms. The stem cells come from the patient’s own fat (adipose) tissue, and specially-trained staff use state-of-the-art technology in the collection and therapy process.
In the United States, more than 12 million people are diagnosed with COPD each year. In addition, someone in American dies from COPD every five minutes. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COPD is the fourth leading cause of death. Stem cell therapy is a new, exciting treatment option for patients who meet certain criteria.
The Stem Cell Procedure for COPD
Autologous adipose stem cell therapy is an outpatient procedure. Our board-certified physicians are specially trained in the collection, laboratory handling, and administration of adipose-derived stem cells. Patients are treated using twilight anesthesia, so minimal pain is involved. The total therapy time is around 4-5 hours. The steps are:
- Harvest – Using a liposuction technique, 100-200 milliliters of fat tissue is removed from the patient. The surgeon first numbs the stomach, arm, or buttock region with a tiny needle and anesthetic. A tiny incision is made so the cannula can be inserted. The surgeon uses tumescent local anesthetic solution to help irrigate the fatty tissue as it is dislodged and suctioned into a collection container. After the procedure, the incisions are closed with steri-strips.
- Separate – The laboratory uses advanced protocols for obtaining stromal vascular fraction (SVF), which contains adipose adult stem cells (ASCs). The ASCs are separated from the adipose cells during the centrifugation process.
- Isolate – ASCs are other progenitor cells are isolated from SVF using advanced multi-filtration procedures. This involves using an enzyme on the tissue, and using a spinning device to collect cells.
- Activate– The isolated adipose-derived stem cells are added to the patient’s own platelet-rich plasma (PRP), and then activated using a low light laser. This is done using sterile technique and following strict protocols.
- Infuse – Once activated, the stem cells are administered to the patient via intravenous (IV) infusion.
Advantages and Benefits of Autologous Adipose ASCs
Adipose stem cell therapy had many benefits and advantages over other sources of regenerative cells. These include:
- Adipose tissue yields many more stem cells per ounce than other sources. Millions of cells can be obtained from 120-200 milliliters of solution. Bone marrow, in comparison, only yields thousands.
- Mesenchymal stem cells have been shown to differentiate and proliferate into various types of cells. Some patients report immediate symptom relief with this therapy.
- Because the patient receives his/her own cells, there is no risk for immune rejection or adverse reactions.
- Autologous stem cell therapy is a minimally invasive procedure, and it is associated with little to no downtime.
How Stem Cells Work
Adipose-derived stem cells are infused into the blood stream, or they can be injected into the damaged or injured body region. For COPD treatment, they are attracted to signals from lung tissue with inflammation. Distressed signals will trigger the stem cells to differentiate, so they begin to integrate with lung tissue. The therapeutic intervention addresses the issues of regeneration of malfunctioning lung structures and tissue.
In recent animal subject trials, the adipose stem cell therapy inhibited inflammation at the level of innate immune activation. In addition, inflammatory genes were suppressed. Another study showed decrease circulating C-reactive protein (CRP) levels in patients treated with MSCs.
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