Researchers from Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute have tested a new stem cell treatment developed by Cynata Therapeutics that could help patients with chronic asthma. The study was published in the journal FASEB and reported that mesenchymal stem cells, when delivered intranasally, could reduce inflammation, normalize airway fibrosis (scarring of the lungs), reverse the signs of airway remodeling and normalize airway hyper responsiveness.
Adult Stem Cells for Treatment
The cells used in the study, mesenchymal stem cells, or MSCs, are generated from adult stem cells and can become any number of different tissue types depending on the body’s need. When used in this specific treatment, the cells were specialized to regenerate the lung tissue that was damaged in patients with chronic asthma.
The use of stem cells has long been controversial due to concerns with using embryonic tissue. Today, most current stem cell research is focused on the use of adult stem cells. Scientists believe adult stem cells may have some of the same healing capabilities as embryonic stem cells without the ethical concerns.
Dr. Ahvie Herskowitz treats patients in his practice, San Francisco Stem Cell Treatment Center, for a variety of heart and lung conditions including asthma.
“Stem cells are powerful immune modulators that can reduce inflammation,” he said. “Current investigations are being made into the anti-inflammatory and immune-modulatory properties of adult stem cells in treating reactive airways.”
Herskowitz has done extensive research in the field of stem cell medicine and believes that this therapy can help regenerate lung tissue and in turn reduce the frequency and length of asthma attacks along with reducing the body’s allergic response to common allergens that may induce an asthma attack.
Chronic Asthma Can Hinder Quality of Life
At the core, asthma is a disease of the lungs. It causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways, which results in symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing and even tightness of the chest.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 18.4 million adults and 6.2 million children in the United States have asthma. Every asthma attack has the potential to be deadly. The swelling of the airways can become so severe that respiratory arrest can occur, resulting in death. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology reports that, globally, an estimated 250,000 people die every year from the disease.
While there is no cure for asthma, treatment is available to control the symptoms of the disease and prevent severe attacks that could be dangerous. Determining a patient’s asthma triggers and developing an action plan with a doctor is the recommended way to manage the disease.