Do unproven stem cell treatments work for lung disease?
There have been promising studies in animal models of lung diseases. Yet, there is no reliable evidence that stem cell treatments are effective for any lung disease. To date, there have been some legitimate clinical trials, approved and regulated by the FDA or by appropriate regulatory agencies in other countries. These have been done for a number of lung diseases including COPD, acute respiratory distress syndrom, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and pulmonary hypertension. These studies have used several different types of stem cells including mesenchymal stromal cells and endothelial progenitor cells. Initial results suggest that the stem cells used appear to be safe over a short term period. However, further follow-up is necessary to ensure long term safety. Importantly, none of these studies have shown any beneficial effect in any lung disease tested so far.