COPD Foundation Position on Stem Cell Therapy

Posted on November 16, 2015   |   

This position statement was reviewed by the COPD Foundation Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee.


Stem cells are immature cells found in a variety of organs including the lungs. Their role is not yet fully understood but there is some evidence that these cells can participate in repair following an injury. The observation that autologous stem cells or stem cells derived from an individual’s own body might possess the ability to repair injured tissues has given hope that these cells might be used to repair the lungs. However, what is not yet understood is exactly how to direct these cells to repair an organ as complex as the lung.

Stem Cell Clinics

Several clinics both within and outside of the United States have been created and promise to use autologous stem cells (such as those from an individual’s fat tissue) to treat a variety of incurable diseases including COPD. These clinics make claims of effectiveness and even cure but none provide direct scientific proof. In addition the US Food and Drug Administration has not approved this therapy to treat COPD.

COPD Foundation Position

Autologous stem cell therapy is not currently recommended for the treatment of COPD. The COPD Foundation does not recommend the use of autologous stem cell therapy in the treatment of COPD or other lung disease until there is more rigorous scientific and medical proof of its effectiveness. Instead the COPD Foundation encourages individuals to participate in clinical trials that test the development and potential benefit of this technique.

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