The ability to use stem cells in healing is a tremendous leap for medical science, and we’re learning more about their potential every day. One of the early discoveries was that stem cells can recreate any type of cell in the body, no matter how specialized. The Lung Institute is taking advantage of another, more recent discovery — the pulmonary trap.

What is the pulmonary trap? Well, we know that anything introduced to a vein flows first to the right side of the heart. From there, blood travels to the lungs. Normal blood cells are oxygenated in the lungs and then proceed through the rest of the body. Stem cells, however, are trapped in the lungs. This is a huge discovery benefiting those suffering from a variety of lung diseases. The Lung Institute’s highly specialized physicians, taking advantage of the pulmonary trap, can simply inject the stem cells through an IV.

While the pulmonary trap means that other organs require more complicated stem cell therapies, it simplifies lung stem cell treatments, making them less invasive with higher likelihood for successful healing. As explained by the Baylor College of Medicine team, stem cells are removed from the patient’s own blood or bone marrow, separated from the other blood cells, and reintroduced to the patient through an IV. Knowing that the stem cells will move to the lungs and stay there allows doctors to take advantage of the body’s amazing ability to heal itself with minimal intervention.

Stem cells, those magical microscopic minions that produce new, healthy cells matching any type of specialized cell, are just beginning to reveal their amazing secrets to science. Each surprise discovery about them is another opportunity for healing.

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