Navigation

Stem Cell Therapy — has anyone tried it?

I recently came across a story about someone who was treated with their own stem cells.  Cells harvested via liposuction, put in a centrifuge to separate the stem cells and reintroduced into the patient's body via IV and breathing treatments.  It is not recognized or paid for by health insurance and costs $7000 on average for a 3 hour procedure which they say will benefit the patient for at least a year.  I am looking into this because my Asthma is really bad. I take Signulair, flovent, albuterol, prednisone a few times a week, and even stuff like Claritin  and Benadryl. Allergy shots did not help and I am only getting worse. I am desperate for relief.  

18
60

Comments 18

  • K8sMom2002

    I can definitely hear you on the frustration of things not getting better with all those medications. 

    Can you share the link where you got that information? I can't say that I've seen any scientific studies in journal articles about stem cell therapy being anywhere near ready for "prime-time."

    Have you checked the resources on ? Do you use a spacer with your inhaler? 

    We're here for you! 

  • K8sMom2002

    RM, I had a friend of mine do a search for studies with stem cells and asthma research. I was right in that there is no scientific study that she can quickly lay her hands on to say that it works in humans without risks, so it's not a current treatment option for most patients.

    She has access to some medical research databases used in hospitals and research universities — access that I DON'T have. 

    She found this article – .

    I don't think she'd mind me sharing her take on the subject based on her speedy review of what's out there:

    … everything I'm seeing is either a) based on animal models or b) conceptual, with the message "promising but not without significant potential risks."

    So I'm thinking it's going to be one of those things that are, indeed, not quite ready for prime-time. But you could always talk to your pulmonologist or allergist and express an interest in getting involved with any stem cell research trials … no guarantee that you would fit the criteria of any trials or that you would actually get something besides the placebo. 

    How ELSE can we help you in the meantime? We have members here who were just like you, struggling and frustrated. Even though they still have bad days, I think they would say that the collective knowledge that we have here on AAFA has given them more good days than they may have had otherwise. 

  • RM

    Here are the links I have.  I have already called a place in Colorado.  It was the receptionist who gave all the details but had no info on success rates or any statistics. It looks like people are already receiving these treatments.   They say these are your own stem cells and there really is no risk because they come from your own body.  Still, I am skeptical, I do not see the treatment in any hospitals or by any pulmonologists. 

    In the meantime I am desperate. Thermoplasty? Xolair seems to have too many side effects? 

     

    thanks

     

     

  • K8sMom2002

    We have folks on here who have used Xolair — see the thread here about  – and — see this reply and — see here for more on that.

    The members who've tried or are trying these therapies are all active members, so they should be fairly quick to respond to any questions you post on those threads.  

  • K8sMom2002

    My friend said she had not seen a single mention of a human trial in a three-year look back through her database. She added that it was highly unlikely that a medication or treatment had gotten through all the trials it needed to go through to be deemed safe and effective if it didn't at least have some preliminary trials early in that three year span. 

    RM posted:

    They say these are your own stem cells and there really is no risk because they come from your own body.  Still, I am skeptical, I do not see the treatment in any hospitals or by any pulmonologists. 

    Here's a that will help give you a different perspective.

  • K8sMom2002

    Thanks for the links … right off the bat, I'm concerned about the fact that the cells are harvested via liposuction, so that would mean they are part of the skin — the to be exact — and not the lungs.

    And also, in order to do liposuction, surgeons have to do one of several things to your fat cells, depending on the method they use. Read more about here. 

    Another thing … as I looked through the links you gave, and followed the links from one site to another, I noticed that at least one of them referenced "stromal cells." 

    This is what says about stromal cells:

    You may hear the term “mesenchymal stem cell” or MSC to refer to cells isolated from stroma, the connective tissue that surrounds other tissues and organs. Cells by this name are more accurately called “stromal cells” by many scientists. The first MSCs were discovered in the bone marrow and were shown to be capable of making bone, cartilage and fat cells. Since then, they have been grown from other tissues, such as fat and cord blood. Various MSCs are thought to have stem cell, and even immunomodulatory, properties and are being tested as treatments for a great many disorders, but there is little evidence to date that they are beneficial. Scientists do not fully understand whether these cells are actually stem cells or what types of cells they are capable of generating. They do agree that not all MSCs are the same, and that their characteristics depend on where in the body they come from and how they are isolated and grown.

    I'm not trying to discourage you, but I do want you to have accurate information. 

    And there are other options that ARE proven to be effective and safe for the majority of those in trials. Also, don't forget the other options for that may help you with your symptoms and increase your quality of life. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Do check out those other links I'd mentioned above about about ,  and  – the folks on those threads or who posted that information are real, live people who are just like you — frustrated by asthma and wanting something better. Perhaps none of those treatments are right for you — that's something that you need to talk over with your doctor.

    But unlike the therapies mentioned above, all of those have come through clinical trials and are approved treatments for asthma. And you have someone that you can ask questions — their experiences might not be yours, but they can tell you more about why they chose the path they did. 

  • Jen

    @RM - Welcome to AAFA's asthma support forum.  I can certainly understand why you are frustrated and seeking out better treatment for your asthma.  Which doctor is treating your asthma – pulmonologist?  allergist?  Have you mentioned your concerns to your doctor?

  • Mandy

    Hi Rm, welcome to this group. Cynthia and Jen have provided great information and questions. I would definitely talk to your doctor about stem cell treatments. It does sound promising but the lack of clinical trials in humans is concerning for me. I think human trials become the next step if studies in mice show promise. So my next question is are their trials in adults being done right now?

    I have tried just about everything to gain better control (diet, medication, and lifestyle) along with many complimentary therapies. I don't have this disease under control yet but it is way better than where I was 2 years ago. This journey is a long one filled with trial and error so I can empathize with wanting to fix it (as these places suggest). You need to weigh the pros and the cons with your pulmonologist as they may have better access to the most current studies and trials. 

    Good luck!

  • Shea

    Welcome RM! I was curious about stem cell therapy too, I am always seeing signs and studies for new uses, they seem magical for healing. I have asthma as part of a greater allergic disorder called churg strauss syndrome which i was diagnosed with 5 years ago and have been trying to manage. 

    Recently I did get my insurance to cover Nucala for asthma (and a private program to help out of pocket costs) . Nucala works directly on eosinophils (xolair did not work for me), but nucala has, after three months, significantly lowered my eosinophils in cbcs, and has shown in studies to help get people off prednisone (also has no side effects that I have noticed, and none that I read about were too concerning). I already avoid my triggers (cat/dog dander is a big one–I live dander-free home) and follow allergy and asthma guidelines in my home (washing, purifiers, HEPA vac) and I eat a low inflammation diet, but for five years nothing could get my eosinophils to a normal level. I am still on my maintenence dose of prednisone and I still use nebulizers of albuterol and budesonide, but the lab results are great news, I finally feel like I am on the right track with the Nucala and I definitely think it is worth looking into in your case. But I am definitely going to read up on stem cells and if you try it, let us know on here how its going!!!

  • RM

    I am feeling really really lousy.  I have done nothing but take meds and try to keep working since I am a freelancer and 

    Shea posted:

    Welcome RM! I was curious about stem cell therapy too, I am always seeing signs and studies for new uses, they seem magical for healing. I have asthma as part of a greater allergic disorder called churg strauss syndrome which i was diagnosed with 5 years ago and have been trying to manage. 

    Recently I did get my insurance to cover Nucala for asthma (and a private program to help out of pocket costs) . Nucala works directly on eosinophils (xolair did not work for me), but nucala has, after three months, significantly lowered my eosinophils in cbcs, and has shown in studies to help get people off prednisone (also has no side effects that I have noticed, and none that I read about were too concerning). I already avoid my triggers (cat/dog dander is a big one–I live dander-free home) and follow allergy and asthma guidelines in my home (washing, purifiers, HEPA vac) and I eat a low inflammation diet, but for five years nothing could get my eosinophils to a normal level. I am still on my maintenence dose of prednisone and I still use nebulizers of albuterol and budesonide, but the lab results are great news, I finally feel like I am on the right track with the Nucala and I definitely think it is worth looking into in your case. But I am definitely going to read up on stem cells and if you try it, let us know on here how its going!!!

    I am having the worst time of my life.  I have never been so sick and I have always bounced back from attacks.  I am desperate  Just 2 years ago I was working out 3 hours a day, boxing, Jiu Jitsu, weight lifting every single weekday. Now I can barely function, I feel better sleeping out, in hotels, or in the car, but I have done everything I can think of in my apartment. new curtains, threw out rugs, hepa vac plus hepa air purifier running 24/7 but I am not improving.  Calling a pulmonologist right now.  At this point I will try anything. Not so sure I want to experiment with stem cells.  Would rather try something that has been tested. Thanks 

  • RM
    K8sMom2002 posted:

    RM, did you ever decide whether the stem cell therapy is right for you?

    Going to try something that has had clinical trials.  Just not sure what those stem cells will do later on.  I do like the sound of it, but the places I call, I don't know, I just don't trust them.

  • Shea

    I am so sorry it has gotten worse and effected what you like to do. I struggle with that too, and the side effects of prednisone That is why I started the nucala, to keep my eosinophils down and control inflammation so I can get off prednisone! It can be very frustrating, but its a learning process and I feel like there are little steps of progress for my severe case: My suggestions: Definitely ask your pulmonologist about nucala if its allergic asthma, depending on your eosinophil levels you could qualify and it has studies behind it, you can google it. Maybe get skin prick testing from an allergist? Do you have cats or dogs, did a previous owner of your apartment? Any suspected mold? Any trigger you can pin down is good. Zippered pillow cases and zippered mattress cases really help me, and washing them weekly in hot water… I notice I always wake up less asthmatic when I have just washed my sheets and mattress cover, and if I wait longer than a week it is worse. I hope you can pin point some triggers, find good avoidance techniques, and find some medications that help get inflammation under control without side effects so that you can get back to being active and energetic and doing what you like to do. In the meantime, try to find activities you can do at your current state, I have learned not to push myself too hard or get angry when I cant do what I used to, because there are things I can do now comfortably, there are places I call safe that dont have pet dander, stores that dont have too many scents or chemicals, there are times of day and weather that are good for my breathing that I can do walks in, and parks I play with my son running around to get safe exercise in. There are medications I carry with me like albuterol, some I take during flares or severe attacks, like nebulizing budesonide and ipatroprium-albuterol. And those "what i can do" or "what i have learned" things are what I try to focus on, bevause that is how progress has been made in my case. Definitely share what works, what doesnt, I love hearing from everyone on this forum, because I learn that way too. 

  • RM

    Two different allergists told me I have the worst allergies they have ever seen. I was allergic to almost everything and my arms looked terrible from the skin tests. Hopefully I can take Nucala, even if I have to pay for it for now.  I am not feeling well, I will write later. 

  • Kathy P

    Hi RM – sorry to hear you are still feeling so terrible Did I read correctly that you better places other than your apartment? Has your apartment been checked for things like black mold? Any way you can move?

    I just came across this . You've probably seen it, but in case you haven't…..