Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Stem Cells - Treatment or Trickery in Today's World.

I work for the COPD Foundation’s Information Line. Today I heard about a clinic in Tampa, FL that will give a client "stem cell treatment" intravenously and by nebulizer to treat COPD. For only $7,500, a person can receive a temporary treatment. A temporary treatment for an incurable condition...hmm.  Repeat treatments are half price. How nice. 

I want to bring a website, closerlookatstemcells.org to the attention of anyone looking to access or even learn more about the option of stem cell therapy in today’s clinical arena. Stem cell research promises great advances in medicine. But those advances are still only promises. Do I think stem cell research is useful? YES! Do I think stem cell therapy has reached treatment status for COPD? NO!

Say what you will about the FDA, it is still the organization that protects Americans against fake cures and false promises. Snake oil can’t get FDA approval, and neither, at this time, can stem cell therapies for COPD. There is a saying about the mills of God: that they turn slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine. The FDA is kind of like that and although I would like to see more innovative treatments for COPD, I am encouraged by recent FDA approval of an inhaled drug combination with no steroid component and other new therapies. Tests are being conducted at universities and teaching hospitals across the country and around the world;  research scientists and physicians are plugging away diligently at new treatments for COPD sufferers. 

I am willing to suspend disbelief for the sake of enjoying a movie about aliens from deepest space, but that doesn’t mean I look for spacemen at the corner store. Expecting a cure for COPD from stem cell therapy today, means suspending disbelief at  a “space alien in line at the corner store” level. 

People with chronic incurable conditions like COPD are sitting ducks for charlatans with “cures the FDA and AMA will not sanction, because they are in the pay of the big drug companies.” 

If you want to support stem cell research and other research for COPD you might want to join the COPD Foundation Patient Powered Research Network Registry and volunteer for a COPD research study yourself. By signing up at the PPRN Registry you will join your health history and experience with COPD to those of thousands of others to expose trends and influence the direction of future research. You will also be given the chance to participate in other trials and studies that can directly influence the course of your disease. No one will ever make you participate in anything - your information and interest in the process is assistance enough to make a world of difference. 

Go to copdpprn.org today to register for the COPD PPRN Registry and keep hoping for a cure. Please read the consent form and data-sharing agreement carefully. The network will only include people who choose participate in the study. If you do not sign the consent form and data-sharing agreement, you will not be in the network. Remember that stem cell treatment for COPD is still in the - hopefully not too distant - future. If you would like to know more about the PPRN or have more questions about stem cell research, you may speak to a trained patient or caregiver associate, toll-free at 866-316-2673. It might even be me :)

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