Can Stem Cell Therapy Treat Pulmonary Hypertension?

Expert Roger Blumenthal's advice on whether stem cells are a credible treatment for the condition.

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I'm a middle-aged woman who has pulmonary hypertension. My doctors want to put me on Flolan. But my husband and I have identified an established adult stem cell therapy program in the Dominican Republic in which my own blood would be used to provide stem cells, which would then be inserted into my lungs via a heart catheter. I have spoken to a patient who had the therapy for the same condition, and he is off oxygen and drugs and is back to work. Do you think this could be credible? My doctors seem to scoff at it.

Stem cell therapy holds promise for the treatment of almost all human diseases, from spinal cord injuries to damage caused by heart attacks. Stem cells are the cells in our body that have the potential to "grow up" to be any type of cell in the body. But organs are more than just collections of cells. They're highly organized collections of a multitude of cells.

All treatments with stems cells are still experimental, and therefore the risks of this treatment are not completely understood. Clinical trials are monitored in the United States by academic and government agencies to help protect research subjects. We are not familiar with the safety measures in place to protect research subjects in the Dominican Republic, and I am unaware of a stem cell pulmonary hypertension protocol in the Dominican Republic. Information about research protocols from around the world and information on how to enroll in such a trial can be found at ClinicalTrials.gov.

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