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How Does COPD Stem Cell Treatment Work?



Many of us have heard of stem cells, but what are they, where do they come from and why all the excitement? Dr. Johnson explains that if you cut a finger, the cells that are damaged release chemical messengers to call other cells in to do the healing and stimulate the stem cells in the area that produce the new growth.

The healing is done by stem cells and if we could harness that, we could cause healing for injuries and diseases. The fascinating features of stem cells are that you can make more stem cells from one cell and it can also become any type of cell. By adding more stem cells to the injury, we can repair the damage.

Here's a full transcript Dr. Johnson explanation on Good Morning Texas:

AMY VANDEROEF: Many of us have heard of stem cells but what are they, where do they come from, and why all the excitement?

Well, Dr. Bill Johnson of Innovations Medical is here with a sweet illustration to help us understand how exactly stem cells work.

Great to see you!

DR. BILL JOHNSON: Good morning!

AMY: So, why so much interest in stem cells?

DR. BILL: Well, if you start to understand a lot of what stem cells do, you can start to understand why it’s so exciting.

AMY: Okay.

DR. BILL: If we cut our finger, then the cells that are damaged release chemical messengers to call other cells in to do the healing. They call in cells that clean up the damage and then they stimulate stem cells in the area that produce all the new growth that’s required to heal the cut. So, all the healing is actually being done by stem cells, and that’s true in any tissue. So, if we can harness that, we can start causing healing for injuries or disease that previously had no ability to heal.

AMY: I think this entire subject is so fascinating. What makes stem cells able to do so much?

DR. BILL: Well, stem cells have two important features and we’re going to use some Halloween candy…

AMY: I love that!

DR. BILL: To kind of illustrate.

If this is a fat stem cell, it has two unique features that make it special. Unlike other adult fat cells, stem cells can produce more copies of themselves. So, I can take one stem cell and make as many stem cells as I need.

AMY: That is really cool.

DR. BILL: Now, that’s a cool feature.

AMY: Yeah.

DR. BILL: But the really cool feature is when you have a stem cell, it can also become other types of cells. The M&M can become these gummy worms or it can become gummy bears if you like gummy bears.

AMY: Well, how do the stem cells know where to go and what types of cells to become?

DR. BILL: Well, that’s caused by the growth factors in areas and we’ve got another illustration to help that.

AMY: All right, Mike’s going to come in, bring in some gummy worms for knee replacements.

MIKE: This is my kind of segment. I just ate a ligament, by the way.

DR. BILL: Okay!

So, if we have the gummy worms that are representing cartilage and the other factors in the knee, if we put stem cells in the area, now we can make new cartilage and new ligaments – things that previously couldn’t heal because there are very few stem cells inside to join.

AMY: Okay.

DR. BILL: That’s why this is one of the areas where we’re seeing some of the very most early effects as we do this research.

AMY: Okay. We’re going to talk about some gummy bears now and what they represent.

DR. BILL: Well, in this case, we’re going to use gummy bears to represent nerves that are damaged such as in a neuropathy. We’ll put some stem cells in the veins but we also inject stem cells around where the damage is so that we can help repair the nerves and restore comfort, decrease pain, and improve neurofunction in areas of neuropathy.

AMY: All right, Mike, come out in here. Now, you have an example with some Jolly Ranchers.

MIKE: My favorite.

DR. BILL: Yeah, the lung tissue is really one of the ones we’re seeing some of the greatest results. We’re seeing some nice results in COPD and the idea is we deliver the stem cells around and they can help become new lung cells and help with healing the lung in ways that we’ve not been able to heal or improve before.

AMY: It’s just incredible. So, what types of disorders are you investigating the use for stem cells?

DR. BILL: Well, one of the ones we’re doing the very most on is worn out joints – osteoarthritis, knees, hips, shoulders. We’re also doing inflammatory arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus or psoriatic arthritis, Crohn’s disease – those inflammatory disorders I also have protocols for.

AMY: Okay. Really quickly, what about cost and is this covered by insurance?

DR. BILL: This is not covered by insurance. It’s all investigational and we aren’t funded by any government grant or anything so it is patient pay.

AMY: Okay. Well, thanks for the illustration. It’s very sweet.

Good to see you again, Dr. Bill.

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