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Deborah Leader, RN

Discovery of Lung Stem Cell Offers New Hope for COPD Treatment

By May 12, 2011

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Contrary to popular scientific belief, human lung stem cells do exist and their discovery may lead to improved treatments for COPD.

Dr. Piero Anversa, director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) in Boston, Massachusetts, and his colleagues believe that  they have identified the first human lung stem cell. This discovery has the potential to repair and regenerate lung tissue in people suffering from COPD and other lung diseases. Dr. Anversa states: "The discovery of this stem cell has the potential to offer those who suffer from chronic lung diseases a totally novel treatment option by regenerating or repairing damaged areas of the lung."

How do lung stem cells operate? When placed in a culture medium, the newly discovered lung stem cells divide into new stem cells and also into cells that have the ability to form new lung structures such as alveoli,  bronchioles and pulmonary blood vessels. This, my friends, is absolutely incredible!

Over the past several years, I have kept you up to date on stem cell research in the United States and other countries. As many of you may, or may not know, stem cell treatment with manipulation is currently not available here in the United States. It will be interesting to note how this new discovery will influence the decision on whether or not to legalize it, making it available to all who need it.

To read more about stem cell therapy, visit the following links:

Would you undergo stem cell therapy for COPD? If not, what would influence your decision? Please leave your comments and vote in the poll.


Piero Anversa, et. al. Evidence for Human Lung Stem Cells. New England Journal of Medicine, 2011; 364 (19): 1795-1806 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1101324; published online 12 May 2011.

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May 12, 2011 at 5:56 pm
(1) kooky says:

Yes, I support stem cell research; and, yes, I would most definitely undergo stem cell therapy. I would love to be able to live a few more years feeling half way normal!

May 12, 2011 at 7:46 pm
(2) Raye9 says:

I am almost positive I would have the treatment – as with any new treatment, I wopuld research carefully and weigh all the possible (if any) risks, side effects, etc. But this sounds so promising – hard not to be hopeful. Now my fingers are crossed “they” will get on the ball and develop quickly!
Thank you for informing, Deb.

May 13, 2011 at 1:35 am
(3) Vern says:

Lets hope the Pharmacuetical Industry doesn’t try to kill the research. Their motto is ” treatment is profitable, cure is not”.

May 13, 2011 at 7:50 am
(4) Karen says:

I find this exciting but more so a reason to HOPE. I hope this will proceed with vigor and expertise. There are millions of us suffering with COPD. I believe I would try this, stem cells seem to be less invasive than surgury. We have to start somewhere.

May 13, 2011 at 8:57 pm
(5) beagle says:

I would have it if it worked

May 14, 2011 at 9:09 am
(6) ann terwilliger says:

Yeah! Definitely have always felt there is merit in stem cell research–case in point–my grandson DX’d with malformed heart in utro–had there been stem cell therapy-a new heart would have been waiting for him upon delivery-he had to undergo much surgery but is doing fine-Ann

May 14, 2011 at 1:39 pm
(7) Arnie Hammer says:

I have chronic IPF ( pulm Fibrosis) and will die soon unless I get a lung transplant or stem cell therapy. I am excited to hear about the adult stem cell finding in the lung and would sign up in a minute. I do not want a lung transpant because the the dangerous anti rejection drup therapy that causes other problems. Stem cell is the only way to go. The government does not support this. They want to keep treating diseases forever and keep the drug companies, Doctors and insurance companies profitable.

May 14, 2011 at 4:36 pm
(8) Dave G. says:

By time I finished reading this, I had tears in my eyes. I had just yesterday written Deborah pretty much asking for “hope”. This article gives me that. Now, I hope they don’t take 10 years to market it.

Separately, Arnie Hammer- You are in my prayers Buddy! If you are going to “die soon”, perhaps a transplant would be beneficial given that the average is 5 years and in 5 years maybe they’ll be able to use stem cells on you. I wish the very best for you sir!

Yes, I’d take this in a heartbeat!

May 15, 2011 at 3:09 am
(9) Tom says:

I did read about it, as well as your blog now. My question is, “At some point they have to try it on humans, How does one get involved in those trials?

May 15, 2011 at 4:58 pm
(10) copd says:

Hi Tom,

Here is an article on where to find COPD clinical trials:


Hope that helps.

May 16, 2011 at 10:45 am
(11) copd says:

I have been having placenta implants for seven years now
and have one at least every six months. It has not only
arrested my copd but my breathing has returned to where
I make no allowances for the disease, my energy level is back to normal. I was diagnosed over ten years ago.
The disease put me in the hospital with pnuemonia and congestive heart failure and brought my life to a stand-still,
but with the treatments i feel great and look forward to life’s next adventure. I have had these treatments with the same doctor in Mexico, they are expensive,but, nothing like I see they are charging in other places. I have had both the shots and the placenta implants and have found the implants much more effective in my case. The Dr. is a good friend i have known and gone to for years before my copd–
otherwise that would be my main concern in going to Mexico.
Living on the border does have this advantage but its the only one I can think of. lol

May 16, 2011 at 8:19 pm
(12) The Truth says:

They will never want a cure for COPD, because it is 170 Billion dollar Business. They rather let you die, and take your money than live and not take it. Welcome to the money Masters that sold their souls to the devil for life riches, but in the next life they will burn.

May 17, 2011 at 7:06 am
(13) alli_bee says:

Wow! This sounds too good to be true!
If it were available, I would certainly give it a go…..

May 17, 2011 at 7:33 pm
(14) sammy201 says:

I would have it tomorrow if available. It get really scarry if you think you are not going to get another breath

May 22, 2011 at 7:37 pm
(15) betty says:

yes i would have stem cell, very interested in it now, i would love to have a better quality of life

June 25, 2011 at 7:25 am
(16) Susan Dart says:

I would like to volunteer to be one of the first to receive the lung stem cell transplants. I have had COPD for 12 years and feel it getting worse. I blame no one but myself for having the disease, I was a heavy smoker for many many years. I am only 60 yrs old and in otherwise good health. I have 3 beautiful grandsons, and many neices and nephews that I adore and would love to live to see graduate from college. When I read these articles I was given so much hope. Yes, I would have stem cell tretments….

August 16, 2011 at 6:55 pm
(17) g-ma bel-key says:

Yes I would have stem cell therapy done. I have IPF and would like to find a clinical study on it. I too would like to have a quality of life for a loner time.

August 24, 2011 at 4:36 pm
(18) Doris M.Locke says:

Yes, I would like to have the stem cell therapy. let me know when it is available. thank you.

October 4, 2011 at 3:52 pm
(19) Rosalind Shawyer says:

I am 65 years old and have had COPD for 6 years am now quite unwell and am on Oxygen.My life is so limited. I would certainly be first in the queue to volunteer for stem cell therapy…please please consider me when it is available…

October 20, 2011 at 8:10 pm
(20) Patricia G.Rice says:

I would be willing to try anything. I’ve heard they’re doing stem cells from Sheep to treat COPD……in Mexico…..would this work???? People are doing it and having great results. I would also volunteer for test trials. I’m a SWF, 69 years old with COPD. Because of my financial situation I’m forced to work or loose my house. Is there any hope out there??? Please, someone ans this.

November 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm
(21) Edward Kirkland says:

Do you need any test subjects,,, anybody, willing to participate .

November 15, 2011 at 3:21 pm
(22) Edward Kirkland says:

Any clinical trials going on ? Hope so we need to have something to look forward to except shorted breathing.

January 27, 2012 at 9:35 am
(23) Roger Wall says:

I am 59 and have had copd for 15 years and just developed asthma also! I spent twenty days in the hosp. in november and have been refered for transplant evaluation! I am very interested in the stem cell therapy and would be willing to particapate in any trials or treatments that are going on.

February 15, 2012 at 7:43 pm
(24) kim, says:

i suffer with copd and would be very grateful for a cure for this breathlessness thanks i am also only 49

February 16, 2012 at 12:36 pm
(25) John Lake says:

Yes, I believe I would undergo stem cell treatment for COPD. Would need a bit more info but certainly support the research. Would like to be considered for the testing.

February 18, 2012 at 3:55 pm
(26) Dale says:

I also believe that stem cell therapy would be advantageous. I have severe COPD & am only 60 years old. I’d love have have stem cell regenerate my lungs so I can get back to a normal life.

February 27, 2012 at 11:43 am
(27) susan John says:

I definitely would. I have been waiting for this discovery since I found I had COPD and had always thought stem cell surgery would be possible. I hope I could be one of the first to trial it because I have nothing to lose with only up to another 8 years possible of life. Quality of life is so important. I was once very active, and am now so frustrated at not being able to do the simplest of things. I would love to be well again and able to go for walks, travel and even do my housework without being breathless all the time.

April 10, 2012 at 4:57 pm
(28) Michele says:

I would have stem cell surgery tomorrow ! Since there are over 200 million of us suffering -isn’t there someting we can do against the greed at FDA ?

April 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm
(29) aja says:

Where and how can I get this treatment? Geesh! If COPD is going to kill me anyway, why can’t I decide and be allowed to have this treatment? It is my body, right?!

June 11, 2012 at 8:38 pm
(30) Michael Manos says:

If one’s own lung stem cells can be harvested grown and reinserted into lungs would the FDA have anything to say about it?

Are there any research trial groups about to try this lung stem cell discovery on humans?

As a COPD sufferer, I would certainly be interested in being a candidate for lung stem cell transplant.

July 1, 2012 at 7:54 am
(31) stella says:

i am just wondering..do people with different lung problem could possibly benefit from it?my daughter has interstitial lung disease(no cure yet) and she’s just 7 yrs. old.she is on oxygen therapy 24/7 almost 2 yrs..hope it would be pushed through

July 1, 2012 at 1:55 pm
(32) copd says:


So sorry to hear about your daughter. May I suggest you go to http://www.stemcellpioneers.com and ask this question. There are companies who work with the lungs, but, not sure about this condtion. They would no a lot more.

August 18, 2012 at 1:25 pm
(33) peter parks says:

I was amazed when I read that lungs which were unsuitable for transplant could be refurbished and suitable for transplant in as little as a 3 month stem cell treatment process. I will be 73 this coming Christmas eve and thought WOW if they could only treat the lungs while they were still in the body that would be absolutely amazing. I am extremely happy to see that researchers were also thinking along these lines. I wholeheartedly say “bring it on.” I am certain that the whole COPD community is feeling the same way. I would most definitely volunteer for that process and to join in leading the way to a fuller and much richer lifestyle for all people suffering from chronic lung disorders.

August 18, 2012 at 1:27 pm
(34) peter parks says:

I was amazed when I read that lungs which were unsuitable for transplant could be refurbished and suitable for transplant in as little as a 3 month stem cell treatment process. I will be 73 this coming Christmas eve and thought WOW

if they could only treat the lungs while they were still in the body that would be absolutely amazing. I am extremely happy to see that researchers were also thinking along these lines. I wholeheartedly say “bring it on.” I am certain that the whole COPD community is feeling the same way. I would most definitely volunteer for that process and to join in leading the way to a fuller and much richer lifestyle for all people suffering from chronic lung disorders.

August 28, 2012 at 1:28 pm
(35) Carrie says:

I would most definitely try stem cell therapy. This disease is terrible.

September 6, 2012 at 3:41 pm
(36) Nancy says:

I’m in my final stage of Emphysema on oxygen 24/7. I’m at 28% oxygen level. I would go for stem cell treatment in a minute. I have no other health issues. I was first diagnosed with signs of COPD in 1994…18 years of this is enough. My husband retired yesterday and I want to be around to enjoy our retirement years together. I do not want to go through a lung transplant.

November 23, 2012 at 10:59 am
(37) len brammer says:

I have accute COPD dont expect to survive much longer I would jump at the chance of Stem Cell therapy ,however what chance living in the UK .could I survive the journey over ?

August 11, 2013 at 3:09 pm
(38) Dorthey Frazier says:

I have copd I would do stem cell but everyone I have contacted the cost is always to high.

November 23, 2013 at 7:38 am
(39) john says:


November 23, 2013 at 11:50 am
(40) copd says:

John, I am not sure how you would go about it in Australia. You would have to do a Google search. In the US, people can search for trials at http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. But not sure about where you’re from. I’m sure if you research it, you won’t have trouble finding it. Also, I recommend visiting http://www.stemcellpioneers.com to learn more about stem cell therapy.

January 23, 2014 at 7:57 am
(41) Michael Levin says:

My Right Lung is Paralyzed and I have severe Shortness of Breath
I have severe Asthma, COPD, and I’m desperately looking for a
New Regenerative Medicine Or Stem Cell Treatment Option. I’ve
Cerebral Palsy from Birth – All Right Side Paralyzed I’m Low on Iron
I have Iron Deficiency Anemia ,GallStones
I live in North Port, Florida and I would like to undergo New Stem Cell
Treatment Option, but I don’t know Where it’s Available and Will Medicare
covers it ? Plus, I need New Hyperbaric Treatment Option and Where’s
it’s available and Will Medicare covers it ? I’ve been over 20 Times Back in Forth in Local Hospital and they don’t Help me for Shortness of Breath.
They filled me up with SoluMedrol Solution and Antibiotics and Temporary Help, but give You Nothing like IV Micro Nutrients for Your Immune System.
Please, Help me Find the Medical Center Or Clinic Where they Help me with New Regenerative Medicine Treatment Option.
Please, I hope to Hear from You Shortly.
Thank You very much.

February 1, 2014 at 9:10 pm
(42) Diane says:

I would be interested in research studies regarding stem cells for cold.

February 21, 2014 at 8:26 am
(43) raine says:

Hi I have problems more complicated than copd. Pulmonary pressures caused by birth defected heart. If there was any help, I would try it. Oxygen tanks are too difficult to carry, and the small machines don’t give me the level I need.

February 25, 2014 at 2:54 pm
(44) Howard says:

Is there any human trials going on yet i really would like to get into one

February 25, 2014 at 6:28 pm
(45) copd says:

Read this to find out where to check for clinical trials about COPD:


Please let me know if you find anything good that you can share with the blog.

March 26, 2014 at 1:46 pm
(46) billy says:

after much research I have found that stem cell for COPD is for only the rich. They only take cash and not many people have 10,000 dollars laying around that they don’t need.

March 26, 2014 at 2:09 pm
(47) copd says:

Billy, unfortunately, that is a sad truth, at least at this point in time.

April 9, 2014 at 7:20 pm
(48) Robert Myatt says:

Yes I would be willing to undergo treatment . I have looked into treatment in Florida. If possible would much rather have it here in Massachusetts.

April 11, 2014 at 3:53 pm
(49) Viola Britt says:

Iam 73 interested in stem cell treatmemt would love to be part of a program I do not have much time left so it doesn’t matter. But I certainly do not like pain, but to take 100 mg of fat out of your stomach and 50 mg out of your spine which is very painful would be worth going through .If there is a better way I would prefer

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