Tampa, Florida -- It's the third leading cause of death in the U.S. You've probably even seen ads for treating COPD, but you may not even know what it is.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease is a progressive lung disease likely caused by smoking, but air pollution can also be a factor. According to the American Lung Association, women are 37 percent more likely to have it than men and since there's no cure, people will do anything to breathe a little easier.
Doctors at the Lung Institute in Tampa are using a lung patient's own stem cells to help treat COPD, emphysema and pulmonary fibrosis by repairing damaged tissue. Like most patients seeking help, 70-year-old Daniel Odulio depends on an oxygen tank. He flew here all the way from The Philippines to improve his life.
The Lung Institute told 10 News the doctors use the latest FDA-approved commercially available equipment for collecting and isolating stem cells using patients' own blood and adipose fat. They say the innovative stem cell therapy won't be rejected because the doctors use the patients' own cells. In some cases, patients are able to get rid of their oxygen tanks altogether.