New Lung Institute Review: Stem Cells Not a 'Miracle Cure' for COPD, but Still Improving Lives

Gary V. received stem cell therapy from the Lung Institute and explains how small improvements made a difference in his quality of life.

Lung Institute patient Gary V. says his quality of life has improved since receiving stem cell therapy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in August of 2015. Quality of life means different things for different people, and Gary claims that small changes make a world of difference.

For Gary, improvement means more healthy days. "I don't get sick as much anymore," he said. "I don't have inflammation. It's been working. It's been very good."

The Lung Institute's pilot white paper, Autologous Stem Cell Therapy and its Effects on COPD, reports that 82 percent of patients studied saw an improvement in their quality of life. While most Lung Institute reviews indicate an improvement in quality of life, the level of improvement varies from patient to patient.

"In the practice of medicine, we use standardized treatments on unique individuals, and as a result, responses to treatments do vary," stated Jack Coleman, Jr., M.D., medical director of the Lung Institute clinic in Nashville. "When the responses of a large population of patients are presented as a graph, we see the bell-shaped curve where one extreme represents those patients with a very-good-to-excellent response to treatment, and the other extreme represents those with little or no response to treatment. The majority of patients are somewhere in the middle."

Stem cell therapy can help, but it isn't a panacea for chronic lung disease.

"There are times when you still get a flare-up, where you have to take a break," Gary said. "It's not a miracle cure. It's not something that you are going to take, and the next day you're cured. It's just not happening."

However, for many patients, it's the best option currently available. People with chronic lung diseases like COPD have to rely on daily medications or supplemental oxygen 24 hours a day. Others are forced to consider a lung transplant, which has a 78 percent survival rate the first year, a 63 percent survival rate at three years and a 51 percent survival rate at five years.

While some patients' Lung Institute reviews indicate significant improvement in lung function or their ability to live a normal life, not all results are a hit out of the park. Most experience some degree of improvement, and the Lung Institute works relentlessly to increase positive outcomes.

"As practitioners, we constantly strive to shift the bell curve in the direction of the excellent responders and reduce the poor or non-responders," Dr. Coleman said. "We do this through constant surveillance of the latest research and literature reports, and modify our protocols based on this information. We also examine those who do not respond well to determine factors that may allow us to offer more effective treatments to those individuals in the future. In doing so, we have improved our response rate from just over 70 percent16 months ago to 85 percent now. But we can never allow ourselves to be satisfied with our results. Improvement is a constant process in medicine."

About the Lung Institute

The Lung Institute is a leading medical provider of regenerative cellular therapy for lung diseases such as COPD, pulmonary fibrosis and interstitial lung disease. To date the organization has treated over 2,500 patients. In a recent stem cell study, 82 percent of patients reported an improvement in quality of life. Founded in 2013 in Tampa, Fla., the Lung Institute currently has clinics in Tampa, Fla., Nashville, Tenn., Scottsdale, Ariz., Pittsburgh, Pa. and Dallas, Texas. For more information, please visit or call (800) 382-8095.