Today is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) daywhich aims to raise awareness about COPD and improve COPD care across the globe. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the name which describes a group of lung diseases including chronic obstructive airway disease, chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

COPD is mainly caused by smoking which irritates and damages the lungs.  The more a person smokes, the greater their chances of developing COPD. While the condition can also be caused by genetic disorders, air pollution, fumes and dust, these cases are rarer [1].

Unfortunately, it is estimated that less than a third of people with COPD have been officially diagnosed. This is because many people who suffer from the condition simply dismiss their symptoms as a “smoker’s cough” [1].

COPD Facts

  • Around 3 million people in the UK have COPD. However, more than 2 million people are undiagnosed. [1]
  • COPD is one of the most common respiratory diseases in the UK. [1]
  • Most people are not diagnosed until they are in their 50’s. [1]
  • COPD is responsible for nearly 30,000 deaths each year in Great Britain. [2]
  • Approximately 15% of COPD is caused by workplace exposure. [2]
  • Work-related COPD accounts for 4,000 deaths in Great Britain each year. [2]
  • The UK is among the top 20 countries for COPD mortality worldwide. [6]

COPD and Stem Cells 

Unfortunately there is no cure for COPD. However, research with stem cells could give hope to people affected by the disease.

The Lung Institute has used a patient’s own autologous stem cells to develop treatments for pulmonary conditions, including COPD. The stem cells, once returned to the patient, can target damaged lung tissue and have the potential to promote healing and improve lung function. [3]

A report by Jack Coleman, Jr., M.D., a doctor at the Lung Institute, found that 84 patients out of 100 had reported improved quality of life 3 months after receiving stem cell treatment. “Although research on the use of autologous stem cells is still in its early stages, it has shown substantive progress in treating patients with few, if any, adverse effects,” Dr. Coleman stated [4].

Stem cell research into COPD is taking place around the world. Today, there are 21 clinical trials investigating the application of stem cells in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

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