BU Today

Science & Tech

From Stem Cells to Lung Cells

Far-reaching implications for BU research

Darrell Kotton, Boston University Center for Regenerative Medicine

Coming up with the right recipe for growing stem cells into lungs, says Darrell Kotton, is a little more complicated than Julia Child’s “‘heat, eat, bon appetit.’” Photo by Vernon Doucette

How do you grow stem cells into lungs? The question has puzzled scientists for years. First you need the right recipe, and it took BU researchers Darrell Kotton, Tyler Longmire, and Laertis Ikonomou seven years of trial and error and painstaking science to come up with it. “A lot had to happen to make a lung,” says Kotton. “It was a little more complicated than Julia Child’s ‘heat, eat, bon appetit.’”

Kotton is a School of Medicine associate professor of medicine and pathology and codirector of the Center for Regenerative Medicine (CReM), a collaborative effort between scientists at BU and Boston Medical Center that seeks to advance stem cell research and regenerative medicine. Longmire (MED’12) is a PhD candidate working at CReM, and Laertis Ikonomou is a MED assistant professor of medicine. Their research, published in today’s edition of the journal Cell Stem Cell, will likely have far-reaching implications in the study of inherited lung disease.

Scientists have been growing mature tissues from embryonic stem cells for years. Some tissues, like muscle and nerves, are relatively easy to grow, but others, including liver, lung, thyroid, and pancreas, have been much more difficult. These troublesome tissues all spring from the endoderm, the innermost layer of an early embryo. The endoderm forms when an embryo is about three weeks old and differentiates into organs as early as five weeks. Somehow, in these two weeks the endoderm transforms into differentiated organs as diverse as the lungs and the stomach. Kotton’s objective was to find the series of steps that takes the cells from endoderm to lung and then to purify the candidate lung progenitors, or ancestors, a goal that has eluded scientists until now. “The trick,” he says, “was in the engineering.”

Darrell Kotton, Boston University Center for Regenerative Medicine, mouse embryo, stem cells, lung cells

An early developing mouse embryo. Progenitor cells in the brain and lungs glow green, indicating that they have turned on a gene called Nkx2-1 and are starting to differentiate. Photo by Laertis Ikonomou

Kotton’s key moment of inspiration came during a conversation in the hospital cafeteria. He had just started up his lab and was talking with colleague Wellington Cardoso, a MED professor of medicine and pathology, about how to generate lung tissue from stem cells. They mapped out a strategy, scribbling ideas on sheets of loose-leaf paper.

But something was missing. “We kept coming back to the idea of a reporter,” says Kotton. “Something that would be activated at the moment of specification.” He decided to create a knock-in reporter gene that would glow green during the “fate decision”—the moment when the stem cells expressed a gene called Nkx2-1 and thereby took a step toward becoming lungs. This allowed the team to track the cells as they developed, mapping each of the six critical decisions on the path to lung tissue. Kotton says the effort involved significant collaboration with other scientists, including Hans-Willem Snoeck of New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital and Jay Rajagopal of Massachusetts General Hospital, who helped at each step of the process.

Once Kotton and his team had grown what appeared to be lung cells, they had to make sure they had the recipe right. They took samples of mouse lungs and rinsed them with detergent until they became cell-free lung-shaped scaffolds. They seeded one lung with 15-day-old homegrown lung cells that they had purified from stem cells. As a control, they seeded another lung with undifferentiated embryonic stem cells. Within 10 days after seeding, the lung cells organized themselves and populated the lung, creating a pattern recognizable to a pulmonologist as lung tissue. The stem cells in the control group grew and clumped into an unrecognizable mass.

Darrell Kotton, Boston University Center for Regenerative Medicine, stem cells, lung cells

Lungs from a 14.5-day-old mouse embryo. The intense green glow shows a high expression of a gene called Nkx2-1 in the developing lung tissue. Photo by Laertis Ikonomou

A happy side effect of the discovery was that the scientists also mapped out the road from stem cell to thyroid. Thyroid, it turns out, also comes from the endoderm layer, deriving from a progenitor that expresses the same key gene as lung progenitors.

Kotton’s work will likely have a huge impact on lung stem cell researchers, who have been waiting for a discovery like this to propel their research on inherited lung disease. Stem cell research has held great promise since 2006, when scientists at the University of Kyoto first discovered how to take an adult differentiated cell, like a skin cell, and turn it back into a stem cell. These reprogrammed cells are called induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells. In 2008, CReM codirector Gustavo Mostoslavsky, a MED assistant professor, streamlined the process by creating the stem cell cassette, or STEMCCA, a tool that allows scientists to easily reprogram adult skin cells into pluripotent stem cells. The tool, which BU patented, is now used worldwide and considered the industry standard.

Over the last few years, with this technology in hand, the CReM team collected skin cells from patients with various inherited lung diseases, such as cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia. Using the STEMCCA tool, they converted these skin cells into pluripotent stem cells, creating a disease bank with more than 100 lung disease–specific stem cell lines. Other researchers followed suit, but with no way to grow the stem cells into lungs, research stalled.

“All these researchers have stem cells sitting in their freezers waiting for a way to differentiate them into lung tissue,” says Kotton. “This opens up all those freezers.”

A note from the scientists at the Center for Regenerative Medicine, for people with further questions:

Thank you very much for your inquiries and interest in our work and potential stem cell therapies for lung disease. We caution all patients that stem-cell based therapies currently offered by several US clinics are experimental and not FDA approved, since they have not been rigorously tested in clinical trials for safety and efficacy. Patients considering such therapies for respiratory disease should consult the resources listed below before taking any decision.

The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) offers excellent on-line resources for patients that consider stem cell-based treatments.

A statement on unproven stem cell interventions for respiratory diseases by the ATS Stem Cell Working Group

Statements by the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and the Alpha-1 Foundation regarding unproven/experimental stem cell interventions.


131 Comments on From Stem Cells to Lung Cells

  • Pauline Leclerc on 05.01.2012 at 11:39 pm

    I am so excited about this. I am a patient of Dr. Theodore & Dr. Farber. I have been preparing for a lung transplant , but have been very nervous about having it because I have Lupus.I have to go to PA in order to have the transplant. I would love to be one of the first human test subjects. I am pretty health except for my lungs. I would like to know how to get considered for human testing. I have a very positive attitude and a high tolerance for pain. Also I don’t have many pity parties . I am sure Dr. Theodore or Farber would tell you anything you needed to know regarding my health. I think I would be great for this. Thank you for reading this . Sincerely, Pauline Leclerc

    • Frank Gillice on 06.19.2013 at 1:48 pm

      I would like to be one of the first to ungo stem cell regeneration of my lungs. I’m 63 and my lungs are shot on O2 steroids and waiting for the next exacerbation to kill me.

    • To writtenbybarberamoran.com on 07.29.2013 at 2:52 pm

      i would love to be selected for stem cell research for lungs daughter has 3 cord from her child birth that could be valuable

    • Jean Quick on 05.09.2016 at 3:32 pm

      More of a question I have pulmonary Fibrosis Don’t know yet what stage I’m in.Been looking into possible stem cell replacement at Tampa lung institute. Do you know anything about there process and results.They said it would take them 3 days. If I think there a chance to work I would do it. Please give me your opinion.

  • frank on 05.28.2012 at 10:39 am

    I will volunteer for lung stem cell implants

  • James Riley on 05.31.2012 at 1:48 pm

    I am considering autologous stem cell treatment for the lungs. I have COPD. How is this treatment different from yours?

    • bob on 10.07.2013 at 5:19 pm

      where are you considering having aotolgous treatments. one available in tampa florida lung institute

      • Kathy on 09.05.2014 at 4:02 pm

        Is the lung institute in Florida successful in stem cell therapy?

        • Denise on 10.08.2014 at 2:06 pm

          My Dad had stem cell therapy for his lungs at The Lung Institute in Tampa, FL. He felt some improvement within the first 3 days. Hislung sounds are clearer and his respiratory effort has decreased. New lung tissue should start growing within a few weeks. If you call The Lung Institute, they will give you the phone numbers of former patients to call about their treatment and progress.

          • Jamie on 08.11.2015 at 6:10 pm

            Denise, is there anymore you can share about the procedure your dad had? My grandfather had a lung reduction (COPD) last June and did very well. He is interested in this procedure to see if he can regain capacity. We are looking at the Pittsburgh Institute, but are skeptical, it sounds almost too good to be true. If there is anyway you can email me, I would love an opportunity to talk with you more.

        • cathy walter on 10.21.2014 at 11:28 am

          my husband, who has COPD, has stem cell therapy at Lung Institute in Tampa, FL in August and has seen on-going improvement.

          • Branda Volinecs on 01.15.2015 at 7:49 pm

            My mom is having the treatment done next month in the new Scottsdale center and I praying she can see some improvement from COPD. She is currently oxygen dependent 24-7 and that was all within the last year. Please pray for my mama!!! These posts made me even more hopeful. Thank you!!!

          • Lisa Nichols on 01.19.2015 at 4:04 pm

            My dad is thinking of getting stem cell treatment at the lung institute. Would love to get some reviews on what the outcome is….

      • howard carlin on 07.21.2015 at 3:40 pm

        cannot afford stem cell from lung institute in Scottsdale az .are there any clinical trials I could volunteer for.or any funding available? please reply

        • Peggy Czarnecki on 08.11.2015 at 9:35 pm

          I had stem cell from the lung institute in Tampa and got no relief at all – after $7,500.00

          • Herbert Zimmerman on 09.22.2015 at 2:54 pm

            I am having stem cell therapy with the Lung Institute in Tampa. Would anyone know the success rate with this procedure?

          • JustMe on 11.23.2015 at 10:33 am

            Hi, Peggy: May I ask, exactly when did you have the procedure? What is the stage of your disease (emphysema/COPD?). Also, from what I understand, you may have to go e back for additional treatments if your prognosis was more severe; and then of course everyone has to go back for routine maintenance as we age.

            Please let me know – I am very interested in having this done, but cannot afford to waste money. Thanks so much!

          • Patty Ormiston on 01.01.2016 at 1:10 am

            Peggy still no change? I was thinking about doing that what stage is your COPD?

  • JULIA PETEET on 06.09.2012 at 11:01 am

    Other than the COPD, I am healthy. Would love to volunteer for lung stem cell research. In case it matters, I had a successful cadaver bone graft about a year ago.

    • Jeannie on 07.21.2015 at 6:12 pm

      Would love to be a candidate for stem cell…praying…

  • Chris Adams on 06.18.2012 at 2:09 pm

    I will volunteer for stem cell treatment. I have COPD and in good shape.

  • Lora Snyder on 06.21.2012 at 9:36 pm

    I am like everyone else here i also have copd and on the transplant waiting list i will also volunteer. i am in good shape and health except for my lungs

  • Karen Emme on 06.28.2012 at 9:35 am

    I am suppose to have a lung transplant and feel the odds are not in my favor. I would be glad to volunteer for this program asap. Please call me 910 795 0232 or 910-200-7749 I sure would appreciate it. I have done a lot of research, on this
    and do believe it is the answer for me. Please call soon.

    Than you Karen emme

  • Barbara Moran on 07.02.2012 at 10:26 am

    A note from Barbara Moran (author of article) –

    Thank you all for your comments. I asked Dr. Kotton about enrolling in ongoing trials in his lab, and he asked me to pass on this information:

    “Thank you very much for your inquiry and interest in our work. We continue to work very hard to develop stem cell therapies to reconstitute diseased lungs, such as lungs that have been destroyed by emphysema. Inspired by patients like you who encourage us to develop the work as quickly as possible, we are making rapid progress. Response to our publications has been overwhelming to the point where we can no longer include any more volunteers in our tissue procurement trials. We are very grateful for this support and involvement of our patients and volunteers.

    Despite all the promise of these cells, and our hope and excitement, our type of cell and gene therapies are still highly experimental and too dangerous to try in human subjects. We still need time to optimize our methods, work with the tissues already donated to us, and most importantly to test the safety of the cells we are working with in terms of their safety in animals for the time being. We have great hope that our approaches will be ready for our grandchildren or great-grandchildren. We are just sorry that they are not yet ready for us. You may wish to read more about our work at: http://www.bumc.bu.edu/stemcells or at our lab website: http://www.kottonlab.com.”

    • Donna on 10.04.2012 at 2:27 pm

      I also have emphysema. And I watched my two uncles and my brother die from the disease. My mother was also diagnosed with emphysema. But eventually she passed from pancreatic cancer. I am hoping that there will be a stem cell that will help all of us with COPD. I know that this disease will be number one next to cancer. Thank the hard work of the Doctors and scientists for coming so far.

    • Ted on 06.22.2013 at 12:23 pm

      Too dangerous for human trials… That choice should be up to the patient.

      • Ted on 06.22.2013 at 12:25 pm

        This society will let you take a chance on the poison, but not on the cure!?

  • Donna Giesick on 10.23.2012 at 11:03 am

    What would I need to do to have lung transplants?

  • Charles T. Jackson on 11.26.2012 at 8:40 am

    I am 73 years old and suffer from COPD. I work out every day, watch my diet (my blood work is always good) and use my bipap machine. My doctor says I don’t look like I am as sick as I am.
    My age may exclude me from some treatments and procedures. So I would like to be included in any stem cell studies.
    Thank you Charels T. Tom Jackson

  • Al on 11.27.2012 at 3:30 am

    How many people like me will die waiting for years of trials they can’t get into.
    What’s the differance if I die from emphysema or die trying to help myself and helping research at the same time.
    Most people with severe copd would gladly sign a waiver to ,
    “Hold Harmless” those researchers just for a chance now for even improvement.

  • Kathryn Hahn on 11.29.2012 at 12:39 pm

    I have COPD. I do have that elephant sitting on my chest. I am in the best shape possible., staying as strong as I can be so I will be ready when something comes around. Please keep up the research. How can I help?

  • JM on 12.27.2012 at 12:12 pm

    I too have stage 4 emphysema and I would also ge willing to try anything, waive any and all responsability as if what I can do as a test subject and it works, I would gladly try this then slowly die this horrific death. I will never be considered for transplant and that was made very clear by two of the leading transplant teams in the US. But in Milan in 2009 they did a dual lung transplant for somebody in my similar predicament and it worked. So let me decide, and I’m here ready willing and able to be a guinea pig. Anything other than this death sentence.

  • Marjorie Cooper on 12.31.2012 at 1:45 am

    I am watching for a time when help will be available. I am 62 and raising a grandchild. I can barely do anything without being out of breath. I don,t go out except to the doctor,s every 2 months.My grandson doesn’t understand why I can’t do the things I used. I don’t want to continue on like this for much longer.It,s. very hard. I really hope research will speed up.

  • Richard Tilbury on 01.05.2013 at 1:39 pm

    I am 49 years old with severe COPD. I am borderline for going on to the lung transplant list, if there was a way to ‘repair’ my lungs such as stem cell regrowth I would jump at the chance. My hope is that this research gets the funding it requires and we sufferers get the support and consideration that cancer patients seem to have universally.

  • beatrice craddock on 01.05.2013 at 2:46 pm

    I too like the others before me have lung problems, but mine is genetic-“Alpha 1 antitrypsan deficiency”. Still waiting for the alpha 1 research doctors to help us more, but it seems like lung stem cells would be the key, why should we have to get lung transplants when lung stem cells are here. I agree, I would rather try the lung stem cells first then see what happens, instead of a lung transplant

  • ken mann on 01.10.2013 at 2:32 am

    I,like the others have terminal emphysema.How could the treatment be more dangerous than not getting it and dying a death of strangulation.Would it kill us quicker?For those of us with nothing to live for,that’s no problem.If the danger is it could go wrong and we’d die anyway,that’s no problem,at least there is hope it could go right.
    let us take the place of the mice,and you might have a cure now,or at least it would speed up the time when it could be ready…

  • Donna on 01.18.2013 at 10:20 pm

    I have a very serious lung condition. Chronic Interstitial Lung Disease brought on by Chronic Sarcoidosis. At this point my outlook is not good. The doctors tell me there is no cure and we can only hope to keep it from getting worse. I would be interested in any information on stem cell research available.

    • john on 10.20.2014 at 6:59 pm

      hi Donna I have Interstitial lung disease too and dr. tell me the same thing no cure just slow it down from getting worse. Did you try stem cells? and if you did ,did it work? If you tried anything that worked please let me know. Perfenadone and ofev was approved from the fda October 17 that slows down the disease.

  • Elaine Neff on 02.07.2013 at 2:10 pm

    I am a female age 71, wwho is in excellent health, other than the fact I have enphysema. I am on oxygen 24/7 therapy and Exercise Therapy classes 3X a week, along with Spiriva daily. I seem to have no other problems. My bones and heart and other organs seem fine at the present. I am able to get around great since I have a backpack for the oxygen. Is there any way I can be on the list to receive stem cell alveoli replacement treatment if and when it may be available. I would sign anything and I have good insurance. I live about 50 miles South of Cleveland Clinic, and would be willing to travel if needed. Thank you, Elaine

  • Patsy witt on 02.14.2013 at 11:57 am

    I have Copd. bad Please let me. Have trials. With stem cell .

  • James Mcconnachie on 03.04.2013 at 4:54 pm

    I would definitely volunteer for stem cell treatment ,as I suffer from emphysema ,as I am sure a lot of people who suffer from this ,would gladly volunteer. I am 58 years old I worked as a stonemason and kept myself fit I look forward to hearing from youse soon thank you

  • Jessie Jace on 03.06.2013 at 1:37 am

    My Mother has severe COPD and is on oxygen 24/7 now. She hates her life as she can do nothing that she once loved. By pure happenstance both my brother and his wife, myself and my husband are all working to get pregnant, so she can see her grandchildren sooner than later. Would our donating, freezing, using the embryonic stem cells found in the umbilical cord be of any help in furthering the research or experimentation phase on humans go any faster?

  • Yvonne Darrin on 03.11.2013 at 3:14 pm

    Please convince the FDA to let all of us who are without any other outlets for help with our emphysema to be able to be used as trial members and speed up the process for a cure. Help save Medicare by elimating this major health expense. I am will to travel and stay as long as required. Thank you, Yvonne

  • Jack Sharpe on 03.16.2013 at 5:25 pm

    I have emphysema and would like to volunteer for stem cell clinial trials

  • Dee Geardino on 03.21.2013 at 6:29 pm

    I have copd and have had 2 lung reductions,right side in 1999 and the left side in 2011. I am talking to some one who belongs to a clinic here in the us and they do lungstem cell. there is a place in Ohio and I am thinking about going there.I wish there were trials we could get into close to home.I would like to know if you heard of Regenestems,and what you think.

  • Jason Rocklin on 03.27.2013 at 4:37 pm

    I’d like yous guys to do something about making stemcells 24/7 at the Hospital for Sick Children mandatory for cancer, lupus and leukemia treatment because I care a LOT for people.

  • ernest felix on 04.06.2013 at 9:23 pm


  • Roy Smotherman on 04.21.2013 at 1:10 pm

    My lungs are damaged by emphysema; I would like to know if the research on stem cells for lungs will be in the near future. Is stem cell therapies being done at this time by any hospital or any doctor? A Dr. is suppose to call me about doing stem cell therapy for my lungs. They told me they harvest stem cells from my blood or my own fat, make stem cells and treat my emphysema. Is this possible or a hoax?
    please let us know if there is any stem cell therapy being done at this time. Thank you. Sincerely yours, Roy Smotherman

  • cliff on 05.14.2013 at 6:04 pm

    Did anyone hear about the stem cell in a Mexico hospital …

    • richard nisbet on 09.15.2015 at 10:23 am

      i have two friends that have both recommened stem cell treatment one was done at the peace clinic in phoenix he showed improvement to be able to now get out of his chair and move around alot more, the other person went to mexico and got fresh cells from a lamb her and her son both talk about how improved her health was, she told me she went from one minute on a tread mill and worked her way to to one hour, that was about 16 years ago she is now 80 and says she has a hard time to travel but swears that he did her a lot of good i have an apointment for stem cell with him on oct first cost 2000 for human cells in phoenix it was 7000 lot on the internet his name is dr diaz barboza in the town of alongonds not sure of spelling, i talked to my dr in states told him what i was doing and he said there is alot of amazing this going on with stem and how it grows nerve endings and tissure hope this helps i am stage 4 but still get around ok just have to pace myself

      • peter bagdon on 10.23.2015 at 9:17 am

        Richard,If you went to mexico please keep me posted .I am in stage 2 and looking ahead.ppaulnsi@aol.com

  • Kathy Sperle on 05.17.2013 at 5:14 pm

    I too have emphysema and would gladly volunteer for stem cell clinical trials. Other than my lungs I’m in good health.

  • banken on 06.04.2013 at 6:15 am

    I am a copd patient and if it’s possible I like to be a volunteer for stem cell clinical research or trial.Can you give me a little more information and advice

  • Neal Bracken on 06.08.2013 at 9:45 pm

    There are two preteens in the news who suffer from cystic fibrosis. I wonder how long it would take to grow lungs for these kids. Your thoughts, please.

    Neal Bracken

  • j. polachek on 06.11.2013 at 3:03 pm

    thanks you for you efforts, but drug companies making billions in profits and owning most politicans, will not allow stem cell or any other cure just treatment. there is no money in a cure for anything, that is why you haven’t seen one since Salk and polio vaccine.

  • fanny montes on 06.25.2013 at 12:34 am

    Why bother telling us about possible cure that won’t be use in humans in more than 10 or 20 years from now. Don’t make poor sick people hope and wish for something that is so far if ever to be possible and applied. I totally agree with the previous comment as long as the drug companies make up in their profits no cure will be allowed other than treatments to keep them getting wealthier it’s all business after all :-( Sooooo Saaad

    • De on 02.08.2015 at 11:25 am

      I totally agree… It’s like your reading something that has your hopes up then read further that it’s not available till were dead… But I am glad that in that future there may possibly be a cure… I also feel that these maintenance drugs are just poison! Death with dignity for me please!!

  • L.Fuller on 08.05.2013 at 1:12 pm

    This article has been a ray of sunshine to me. I admire your dedication and drive to alleviate the suffering caused by emphysema. I am 66 in very good health ,except for destroyed lungs. I would ask to be considered as one of your earliest volunteers. Keep up the good work,someday you will be successful.I pray its in time for me to see a late life of easy breathing.

  • Emil D on 09.27.2013 at 11:04 pm

    I would first like to thank Darrell Kotton, Tyler Longmire, and Laertis Ikonomou for their tireless dedication. Their research represents ground breaking achievements. Surviving in a world with COPD leaves few options for treatment. The operative choices for now remain invasive surgical lobe reduction or full lung transplant. My father died at the age of 59, seven years after receiving a single lung transplant. At the age of 51, I too, now find myself faced with the same extremely difficult choice.(Stage 3 COPD) My emphysema is too severe to really consider reduction as an effective choice. The doctors noted here are just a small segment of a growing number of hospitals and universities that represent our best chance for a real cure. I was disheartened to hear that they were no longer accepting additional trial candidates.
    Successful scientific research needs more clinical trials. We have nothing to lose no matter how small each step forward we take. Our grandchildren…our great grandchildren??? Proposing that only diminishes your previous efforts. COPD is now the third leading killer in the U.S. today. For every cure there is an answer. Regenerative medicine and stem cell transplant are the answer. Our medical community needs to recognize that. And along with the millions of people effected each year by this deadly disease, their responsibility has never been greater.
    Please feel free to comment or contact me directly. I encourage any constructive dialogue or proposals for discussion. We will be our own leaders in this fight for a cure. Don’t be naive and look for someone else to do it for us.

  • Gary Cope on 09.28.2013 at 2:16 pm

    I am 66 years old and have had Sarcoidosis for more than thirty years. Between Pneumonia over and over and the Sarc, I have about 25% pulmonary function and am on oxygen full time, Prednisone (of course), and all the other respiratory drugs. I would be happy to volunteer for any stem cell research. Thank you.

  • Don Bickel on 10.24.2013 at 9:33 am

    Very interesting site. have had copd for at least 10 years. For the past 2 years I have been searching for a place to receive a stem cell implant. I am very interested in any help you can be to me. Thanks DON

  • Lesa McLindon-Hunt on 10.31.2013 at 11:36 am

    I am 59, and was diognosed several years ago with COPD. I cannot play with my grandchildren, or hike with my husband anymore. I would like to live long enough to see my grandchildren graduate. The COPD is beginning to effect other parts of my life. I am fighting depression, and concerned about my job. I have problmes puting on my shoes. It would be wonderful to have something to look forward to. Right now there are no dreams for the fututure only the feeling of despare and hopelessness. Every day is a struggle.I would appriciate being considered to be a part of the Trials.

  • james leone on 11.25.2013 at 5:37 pm

    I have pulmonary fibross and have the upper part of my left lung removed. I am on oxygen 24/7. I have signed up for stem cells being taken from the fat in my stomack and injected in my blood to help my lungs. Has anyone had this done with it helping?

    • john on 10.20.2014 at 7:05 pm

      I have pulmonary fibrosis too did you do the stem cell ? if yes please let me know if it works I am thinking of doing it too

      • Jeff thon on 12.21.2014 at 7:07 pm

        I had the stem cell procedure done in Florida on August 20th of this year. I have pulmonary fibrosis. So far, no change but they said it would be 6 months.

        • Kris on 01.15.2015 at 6:26 am

          Hi Jeff,

          I am too planning for stem cell therapy but not sure of its sucess or result. Could you please update us about your improvements?

        • Cris on 06.15.2015 at 9:28 pm

          Jeff, I was wondering what your results with your stem cell therapy are? My husband and I were trying to research this more but can’t really find anyones personal experiences.

        • Mike Jullie on 09.07.2015 at 3:34 pm

          Hi Jeff,
          i am thinking about doing the SC treatment at the lung institute in Tampa October 5th 2015. i have pulmonary fibrosis. Could you tell me how you are doing and which of the three options (blood,fat,or bone marrow) you did?
          Would very much appreciate your help.
          All the best,

  • Pamela Herring on 12.07.2013 at 11:33 pm

    I have COPD . Smoked cigarettes my entire life. I will be 50 in March and I am on full time oxygen,Symbicort, Spiriva, rescue inhalers and a nebulizer when needed. I was sent to see a Doctor who specializes in Lung Transplants and was told that now is not a good time. To wait until I didnt have long to live before going through the process. The reason being that:
    1) The drugs are so expensive!!

    2) Relocation is a must if you do not live near the hospital that is doing your transplant

    3) The immuno-suppressant drugs that keep your body from rejecting your new lungs cause such things as Cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, and/or Kidney and liver disease

    4) After care for the first 3 months , you have to have a care giver that you MUST pay yourself (could be a loved one or 2 that are willing to devote 24/hours a day) Someone who can help you get your meds on time and proper dosage, get you showered, dressed and to appts on time.

    After hearing all of this, I wasn’t sure if would EVER want a transplant. Then as I struggle to breath after walking up a short flight of steps, I ask myself if it would be so bad. How nice it would be to be able to play with my grandchildren. To go trick or treating with them. To be able to push them on a swing. To pick them up if they get hurt and fall.

    I pray for the day that there is an easier way for those who suffer from COPD. I would love to volunteer for this study! I am very healthy despite the fact that I only have 25% of my lungs working. My heart is working fine!

  • Sherry Franklin on 05.08.2014 at 6:10 pm

    If the United States is no longer a free country where as I’m not allowed to make decisions concerning my health, decision that would not affect any other person then can you please tell me if there is a country that I can go to to receive lung stem cell therapy. “May God Bless”

  • DIANA CHURCHRAY on 06.01.2014 at 12:15 am


    • gigi on 03.09.2016 at 12:01 am

      I am 72 years old and was diagnosed with emphysema in 2004 .Since then as all of you know its progressed at a rapid pace. Everything has become a struggle to do .Routine things like taking a shower or getting dressed take forever and can wear wear me out for an hour . All the things that require me going out and having to walk I am no longer able to do .Even going to a movie is a major decision .because twice an ambulance had to be called and I was hospitalized over night. My life has more or less come to a halt. PLEASE give me some hope .The prednisone,albuterol,oxygen has taken over my life and my mobility.Would a 72 yr old woman be considerd fir stem cell therapy?

  • Ellen on 07.30.2014 at 12:47 pm

    Quality of Life. I am a small cell lung cancer survivor (11years). I felt a lot better before all the cures. I use to walk 3 to 4 miles a day, took good care. Now I find myself unable to exert myself. I would love to be able to get the stem cell lung rejuvenation. Bring back the healthy life I took for granted.
    You can use ma as a giny pig. I would be proud even to get 20% back. Thanks

  • Wanona Clifton on 08.07.2014 at 10:45 am

    Have copd and would like to be a part of a stem cell study, thank you.

  • Lyn Cox on 08.08.2014 at 2:23 am

    My beautiful daughter is dying from respiratory failure due to Sarcoidosis, a disease that has blighted her life for over 20 years – Papworth have told us she is now too frail for transplant – she is only 34 and I am bereft. I hope your research eventually leads to a treatment other than transplant for patients similar to Kelly who has battled bravely for most of her life and deserved some hope.

  • Jimmie Dean on 08.08.2014 at 8:13 pm

    I am 68 year old woman with COPD I have been reading up on stem cell research for the lungs.
    I am healthy eat right exercise and would like to be in a study. I am available any time ready to start.
    Please consider me for THIS STUDY.
    Jimmie Dean

  • Ellen on 08.10.2014 at 12:53 pm

    I am a survivor of Small cell Lung cancer. My left lung is all fibrosis due to radiation. I was told I have copd. Before the treatment I was a active walker
    3 to 4 miles per day. Attended class at my gym cardio kick boxing etc.
    My quality of life has gone. I fear I will be nothing but a burden on everyone.
    I would appreciate very much to be a candidate for Lung stem cell rejuvenation.
    Thank You, Ellen

  • David on 09.04.2014 at 5:04 pm

    Male 57 yrs., 250 lbs. non smoker for 8 years. Progressed from end stage COPD @ 17% capacity to aprox. 25% capacity. Otherwise healthy and strong. Good attitude /excellent patient/ work as a Radiological Technologist.
    I don’t know how much longer I can keep it up. Don’t want double transplants.
    Please consider me.

  • Russell on 09.19.2014 at 6:04 pm

    I would love to be considered for your study.

  • cassndra on 10.13.2014 at 5:24 pm

    could someone please let me know of anyplace in PA or close to PA that is doing stem cells for copd.

  • Marie Cimetti on 12.16.2014 at 7:39 am

    I read all these blurbs from people who are sick and begging for your help. If you can’t help humans, even at their own willingness to risk death, then don’t broadcast it. If you can’t help just let us know when you can.

  • John Amadon on 01.09.2015 at 5:37 pm

    I have pulmonary fibrosis . Lung function is at or near 25% Stem cell therapy sounds promising. Are you looking for volunteers?

  • Kelly L Williams on 01.11.2015 at 12:15 pm

    I have COPD and I have tried Stem Cell twice before with minimal success. I will volunteer for the study.

    • Kris on 01.15.2015 at 6:26 am

      Is stem cell therapy helpful ?

  • Jeanette Atwell on 01.14.2015 at 11:57 am

    I am 61 years old, have COPD and am seeking financially assisted stem cell therapy, I truly believe this is my best hope!
    Please advise, Sincerely,
    Jeanette Atwell

  • David Keefe, BU Today on 01.14.2015 at 12:25 pm

    For all those inquiring about enrolling as a subject in ongoing trials, the researcher asked us to pass on this information:

    “Thank you very much for your inquiry and interest in our work. We continue to work very hard to develop stem cell therapies to reconstitute diseased lungs, such as lungs that have been destroyed by emphysema. Inspired by patients like you who encourage us to develop the work as quickly as possible, we are making rapid progress. Response to our publications has been overwhelming to the point where we can no longer include any more volunteers in our tissue procurement trials. We are very grateful for this support and involvement of our patients and volunteers.

    Despite all the promise of these cells, and our hope and excitement, our type of cell and gene therapies are still highly experimental and too dangerous to try in human subjects. We still need time to optimize our methods, work with the tissues already donated to us, and most importantly to test the safety of the cells we are working with in terms of their safety in animals for the time being. We have great hope that our approaches will be ready for our grandchildren or great-grandchildren. We are just sorry that they are not yet ready for us. You may wish to read more about our work at: http://www.bumc.bu.edu/stemcells or at our lab website: http://www.kottonlab.com.”

    • Ella ammons on 10.11.2015 at 5:24 pm

      If the stem cell treatment is not available according to the research doctors, how are people getting treated at the lung institution? Are they not really stem cells?

      • David Bergeron-Keefe, BU Today on 10.16.2015 at 2:16 pm

        please contact the Center for Regenerative Medicine directly with questions about opportunities for participation in treatment research: http://www.bu.edu/dbin/stemcells/contact_us.php

        • Robert on 02.26.2016 at 9:20 pm

          Hi David, I think Ella’s question, while referencing the research, seems to be asking about how some are already advertising it as an available treatment, such as at lunginstitute.com, which I just came across 2 days ago. I’d never heard of this as a possible treatment, & none of the 3 Pulmonologists I’ve seen so far mentioned it as such, or mentioned it at all, (I will of course now ask my current Dr. about it), but it is being advertised as available, and even some posting here (including the one right below my post), say they’ve been doing it. (background fyi- my specific issue is Bronchiectasis, Dr.’s say either caused, or activated/exacerbated, by the 9/11 events & ensuing air toxicity in NY, was not in the buildings but lived mile & a half from them ’til early ’06).

  • john cranfill on 02.10.2015 at 6:36 pm

    I had stem cell copd therapy 08-8-14 Innovations medical by Dr bill j Johnson in Dallas. Tx and the treatment part by nebulizer seemed to help the most for a couple of weeks until I was exposed to some harmful chemicals in my mothers house. Can’t get another treatment until 6 months pass. Sometim in march if I live that long. John Cranfill

    • Linda M on 08.03.2015 at 8:33 am

      I too have various lungs issues and considering stem cell therapy, and live in Dallas….you had someone in Dallas do stem cell therapy? Who?

      Thanks in advance

  • Janice Griffith on 02.19.2015 at 5:43 am

    I would love to try the stem cells procedures as soon as possible so that I can get my life back I feel like I live in a cage can’t move around cost I’m so short windy with my copd so please if you can help me I will appreciate it very much

  • william shaw on 02.19.2015 at 10:58 am

    I am getting stem cell therapy within the next few weeks and will let all know how things go in the near future…I understand it could take several weeks before I can expect any changes…

  • william shaw on 02.19.2015 at 11:00 am

    I would like to hear from people who have already had stem cell procedures and their opinions and results…if any….

    • dave on 03.09.2015 at 7:36 pm

      I am interested if you have heard anything about stem cell treatments

      Thank you

  • Laurie on 02.19.2015 at 1:10 pm

    Many of us are looking into stem cell therapy (my brother is for his pulmonary fibrosis) at the Lung Institute and would love to hear the real story from anyone out there that has tried it. Is it worth it? Does it help and if so, how much improvement is there? PLEASE if you see this and you have undergone stem cell treatment for lung disease let us hear from you

  • Kris on 03.09.2015 at 6:50 am


    It feels really sad to know that stem cell therapy research is still in progress and not approved yet

    I know, ppl taking this therapy and observed improvements…. but Doctors still not recommending for this therapy ..

    What shall patient do ? Improvements observed in few patients really inspiring an encourage us to enroll..

    Please suggest !!!

  • Timothy Davis on 03.30.2015 at 2:35 am

    I’m currently considering stem cell therapy. 52 and lungs deteriorating quickly. Wish lung stem cell treatment were available now.

  • Linda rowe on 04.01.2015 at 4:15 am

    When will stem cell therapy be ready for COPD?

  • Michael Wong on 04.11.2015 at 3:43 pm

    Worked in Asbestos in 70’s to early 80’s. DoD monitored and said I do not have Asbestosis. Annual check up showed dark area in left lung. Scarring from Asbestos and expelled from sea water doing free diving. Now retired, health is going down hill. I went to bed healthy and awoke gasping for air. Pulmonary Doctor said I have COPD. My lungs do not have elasticity due to scar tissues as airways narrowing?

    Heard from individuals like myself have treatment done in Malaysia and after 1 year able to jog 6 miles, I have hard time just going up on flight of stairs. On portable oxygen concentrator 50% during daylight. Seriously thinking following their path. Stem Cell can be harvested from Umbilical Cord at OBGYN Births. When will Stem Cell Implant be allowed on American soil? Have been told the AMA & FDA is approval obstacles, is this true? Must I go abroad to get cure? Is GREED stopping approval? My Pulmonary Doc said maybe in four years….What is your answer? Organs (Liver) have been produced with 3D machine, why not lungs? I’m in 70’s and want lungs of 20 years ago or better. Is it plausible?

  • RICKY SIMMONS on 05.07.2015 at 12:43 pm

    i have copd and congested heart failure ,i have been in the hospital 4 times since jan.i don,t think that the research on stem cells is moving ahead has fast as it could be.thinking about the lung institute in Tampa.just wish they could or would show us some proof that it works besides testimonials.

  • Ann on 05.12.2015 at 12:58 pm

    I also have 68 and have COPD. Been diagnosed 13 years ago. Have been reading about the stem cell research done at the Lung Institute. Sounds good but is expensive I heard around $8000.00, plus air fare etc. A lot of money if you are on fixed income. Physically in good health but can not exert much effort doing things. Stem Cell is not recommended by the health care field and my physician has never even mentioned it. Also heard about the University of Pittsburgh and the work they are doing with the lungs.

  • larry on 05.31.2015 at 5:39 am

    If you start trials and i’m still alive i would like to be included, i’m a healthy 69 year old male.

  • Hazel Owen-Hicks on 06.02.2015 at 4:58 pm

    I am a 69 year young female with severe COPD, on oxygen 24/7, and like all other posts here, not much hope for the future. As I see it, we have 3 major titans to contend with: tobacco co’s, pharmaceuticals and…our government. All 3 making billions of dollars in profits and taxes. Our government is inundated with lobbyists for tobacco and pharmaceutical co’s.
    There are millions like us suffering with very little hope for a cure within our lifetime. What if we could unite to form our own lobby group, lobbying for the humane right to find a cure for our diseases by ensuring that immense funding, like never before, be made available for intense research to hasten a cure?
    In the meantime, I applaud all of the researchers for their gruelling task and patience. Keep up the good work.
    If and when stem cell treatment becomes available I hope I am still here on this earth and can participate.
    Have faith everyone.
    Thank you.

  • johnarmentino on 07.07.2015 at 12:05 pm

    I only have about 15 percent of my lungs left. I would try stem cell implants.

  • MarJij on 07.22.2015 at 1:45 pm

    Can someone tell me if the procedure is covered by insurance? I have emphysema myself and I’m 50, but my Mom had a lung reduction 20 years ago for lung cancer, has been GREAT. She is now 72 and her lungs are getting worse. I lost my Dad, I don’t want to lose my Mom if there is something that works. Surgery is not an option. Any response is appreciated!

    • mike on 10.05.2015 at 7:45 pm

      no it is not covered by insurance I checked with the lung institute. I am also contemplating the treatment

  • M.l.B. on 07.25.2015 at 12:05 am

    I have a condition called asbestosis causing very labored breathing and it is progressing more these past several months. Doctors say that there is nothing more they can do for me. Can stem cell treatment do anything for this kind of ailment ? I am a VA patient and my treatments have been conducted at the local veterans hospital and I cannot afford independent treatment.

  • David on 07.27.2015 at 11:08 pm

    I would love to find out if there is a way to get on a list for possible stem cell treatment for COPD. I had an inhalation injury at work, 35 years ago, and now have severe COPD. Healthy everywhere else. Thank you.

  • Shanna boyer on 08.14.2015 at 4:00 pm

    My mother has copd emphysema end stage.We would like to take her to the lung institute,has anyone had success their ? if she goes for treatment I will pass on the info on how she does.Ps things could be turning around soon Bio Companies or investing Billions of dollars this year in stem cell study and cures.So the pharmaceutical companies are getting very worried that their drugs will be replaced in the nearest future by stem cell procedures.So they are shifting their money into stem cell companies. It’s really moving faster.I live in Europe and their is much more being discussed here.Wish you all luck and better health.

  • Kemmy Young on 09.10.2015 at 5:50 pm

    Here is a link for my dad’s fundraising campaign. He desperately needs the help and is more than willing to try stem cell. Please consider


  • Mary Zadeh on 09.15.2015 at 9:15 am

    Up until a few years ago I was very active on a daily basis. I now have pulmonary fibrosis and would love to be a candidate for stem cell therapy.

  • Greg on 10.09.2015 at 7:57 pm

    Hey I know you are not accepting new patients but at some point if you do, count me in. I am 58 non-smoker and runs shot from allergies/asthma. My Dr. told me to NAC 500 mg a day and that helped but what really helped was 5_HTP. Evidently reduces allergic airway inflammation 70-90% in rats. I got to the point I don’t have much to lose so I tried the 5-HTP. I could tell the next day that inflammation was profoundly better. Hey we may not be able to get stem cell therapy today but perhaps we can hang in there long enough for a researcher to have a eureka moment and unlock Pandoras box. I am not sure I trust places like the Lung Institute. If they are having such great luck why don’t they put out a research article in a reputable journal? I can not find a single research article submitted for peer review from the Lung Insitute or any other stem cell transplant company on adipose tissue stem cell transplants for lungs. Something is not right with that.

  • Greg on 10.09.2015 at 8:04 pm

    Hey I know you are not accepting new patients but at some point if you do, count me in. I am 58 year old non-smoker and lungs are shot from allergies/asthma. My Dr. told me to NAC 500 mg x 3 a day and that helped but what really helped was 5_HTP 100mg x 1 night. Evidently 5-HTP reduces allergic airway inflammation 70-90% in rats. Do your own research on it and talk to your doc. Evidently COPD hypoxia reduces serotonin so depression sets in. 5 -HTP is good for that as well.

    I got to the point I don’t have much to lose so I tried the 5-HTP. I could tell the next day that inflammation was profoundly better. Remember my COPD is not from smoking but allergic asthma and chronic inflammation.

    Hey, we may not be able to get stem cell therapy today but perhaps we can hang in there long enough for a researcher to have a eureka moment and unlock Pandoras box. The main thing is to prolong life and hope.

    I am not sure I trust places like the Lung Institute. If they are having such great luck why don’t they put out a research article in a reputable journal? I can not find a single research article submitted for peer review from the Lung Insitute or any other stem cell transplant company on adipose tissue stem cell transplants for lungs. Something is not right with that.

  • Irene Najar on 10.26.2015 at 8:39 am

    I Have PAH I am 70 years old I was diagnosed with it 8 months ago all my organs are healthy I have high tolerance for pain please consider me for your study

  • Dawn Bell on 11.04.2015 at 11:09 am

    I have COPD emphasema I would like to volunteer for the stem cell treatment.

  • Dawn Bell on 11.04.2015 at 11:11 am

    I have done so much research and reading about Stem Cell Treatment. The lung institute I am not comfortable with.

  • Peg on 11.05.2015 at 12:16 am

    You can thank the FDA for labeling stem cells as a DRUG! We will not see stem cells for our lung disease! It takes 15 -20 years for any clinical drug to go before the FDA! The FDA & Pharmaceutical Companies had a pow wow. Labeling stem cells as a drug has given the Pharmaceutical Companies to profit from stem cells. Plus they are allowed to play God with the stem cells! I signed a petition against this very action of the
    FDA. My stem cell Doctor (Todd Malan of Scottsdale , AZ) fought against the FDA with numerous petitions,etc. but the pharmaceutical companies have very deep pockets! If I where you, find a very knowledgable stem cell physician. Dr. Todd Malan travels world wide teaching foreign doctors on stem cells. His clinic in Scottsdale,AZ has high tech equipment to guarantee that you are receiving live stem cells. He also has a clinic in the Bahamas for heart patients. I highly recommend Dr.Malan! He believes that everyone should be able to receive stem cells. Be careful of overseas clinics. Go to stem cell pioneers forum for lung diseases. You will find a list of legitimate stem cell clinics. They also have a guest stem cell doctor speaker every month. Dr. Malan was one of the speakers on stem cells. It’s sad that many of us will die before these miraculous healing stem cells are available. My own father received a lung transplant. He was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis. He lived 15 years with the transplant. Now I’m battling with Pneumonitis. Adipose stem cells keeps the inflammation at bay. Please do your own research on stem cell clinics. If anyone wants to email me: pegdarlene@yahoo.com

  • Michelle Boehme on 11.13.2015 at 1:16 pm

    I would give nothing more than to do this the only thing is I am on fixed income. But, I would give anything in world to try this. Please consider me for the testing process.

  • Lynda Kamac on 11.13.2015 at 9:40 pm

    i am told I have mild emphysema:COPD I was relatively a symptomatic until last month when chest tightness drove me back to the pulmonary doctor who believes it is not my emphysema that has progressed but that I have developed a sub clinical bronchial asthma. Now on inhaler FloVent and albuterol.
    I have made an inquiry to the Lung Institute who say they harvest stem cells from bone marrow or adipose tissue and/or blood. They stimulate them to proliferate and then put the cells back in your body intravenously. What doesn’t make sense to me or isn’t clear is how will these cells find their way into my lungs to repair the damaged tissue of emphysema?
    Why will the cells go to the lungs and not my liver or kidneys or heart??? Is the Lung Institute a Scam???

    • Debra on 12.04.2015 at 2:44 am

      Do you know of anyone having heart problems after stem cell therapy at lung institute?

  • Linda on 11.14.2015 at 8:26 am

    I am NOT a lawyer nor am I affiliated with any law firm at all — but every one on this comment thread should consider filing a class action lawsuit against the tobacco industry for developing COPD/EMPLYSEMA —- they knew the dangers — you did’t –especially if you started to smoke in the 50s 60s 04 70s — I am a patient too. You could afford the stem cell treatment if we all sued them!

  • Renee Moore on 02.05.2016 at 10:15 pm

    I do not have lung cancer, but just found out a few hours ago my Mom does. If I cld I’d participate in giving you healthy stem cells to help others get better. Wondering if wth same blood type ‘O’, I can give her an entire lung or stem cells too or something new in science??? Sincerely, Renee

  • Paula Crowe on 03.29.2016 at 11:16 am

    I have moderate to severe emphysema (COPD) I would gladly participate in stem cell therapy clinical trials

  • brenda gonthier on 04.05.2016 at 10:09 am

    I would like to be put on your list to have stem cell reserch, I have copd with no other issue going on, I live in Northwood NH I am 65 and have so much more liveing I would like to do but I was really stupid when I was young I smoked. but do not anymore.

  • richard c. carr DDS on 04.25.2016 at 11:25 am

    I have been diagnosed with IPF and have been looking for any alternative treatment. I am relative healthy and active with some issues brought on by the disease that should be corrected if the disease process is slowed or stopped. My age (83)could be a factor but I would like to give it a shot. I would appreciate any interest. Richard carr

  • karen on 06.17.2016 at 10:54 pm

    My names are Karen Cole am from UK, I was diagnosed of Emphysema , I was told by my doctor that there’s no cure. I was so worried anytime i think about it ..i was just researching online I saw a lot of testimonials about DR Mapipa on how he uses herbal medicine to cure so many deadly disease …. I contacted him via his email;drmapipaherbalmedicinehome(at)gmail(dot)com and told him my problems, then he said i will be totally cured within 18days,my heart was full on joy when he said that i will be totally cured within 18days ,i just had faith and believe,then i purchased the herbal medicine and sent him my details such as NAME,HOME ADDRESS,PHONE NUMBER ,Then DR Mapipa sent me the herbal medicine to me through courier service and I used the herbal medicine for good 18 days, then I went for check-up and my doctor confirmed thats am totally free from emphysema..it work like a miracle to me ,please viewers out there this is real am so happy to share this testimony .thanks to DR MAPIPA GOD WILL BLESS U . if u want ti know more about doctor mapipa and his great work check his website drmapipaherbal weebly com

  • Carol on 06.19.2016 at 2:46 pm

    Be wary of stem cells from lung institute because I’ve researched it and although the science is promising it us not yet ready and may do more harm than good . Look deeply into this stem cell hype before you do it. As a patient with copd I know what it’s like to hurt and suffer but I wouldn’t take the chance with anything not proven to work and if insurance won’t pay for the procedure there is something wrong.

  • Sandra Downey on 06.29.2016 at 3:52 pm

    I have been considering having the stem cell treatment (blood) done, that is being offered at the Lung Institute in
    Nashville, TN. It cost 7,500.00 for three day treatment. I would like your thoughts about this.

    I am not a rich person. I want to feel better but I don’t want to be scamed. I just thought you might have an opinion
    about this.
    Thank You In Advance
    Sandra Downey

  • Sandra Downey on 07.07.2016 at 12:05 am

    If you have COPD send an email to sgd55@att.net and tell me your story. I also have COPD. I believe everyone should be able to receive treatment and I have a plan.