Goal 1: Promote Human Health

Funding of Stem Cell/Lung Regeneration Research

How to "cure" a chronic, incurable disease - A potential giant step in saving the lives of many thousands of Americans, and potentially millions worldwide, who are afflicted with COPD, the third leading cause of death in the U.S.

The financial effect of COPD in the United States alone is well over $50 billion per year. It is estimated that some 30 million Americans have COPD, which of course means that at least that many family members, usually spouses, are faced with a life put on hold...years, perhaps many years, of care for their patient.

Tags (Keywords associated with the idea)

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Critical Challenge (CC)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

COPD is chronic and presently incurable. Although it sickens and disables nearly 30 million Americans, and kills 140,000 of them each year, the only "cure" is a lung transplant. Due to the scarcity of organ donors and the requirements that lungs be removed from the donor in a hospital setting, only about 1,400 lung transplants are performed in the Unites States each year. Unfortunately, transplants are fraught with complications, side effects, and potential rejections, and on the average, add only about 5 years to the life of the recipient. The best potential solution lies with the stem cell and lung regeneration research that is presently occurring at a few centers around the country. Ideally, the re-engineered lungs would be composed of the patient's own stem cells, eliminating a great many of the current transplant issues.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Research is presently in process on construction or reconstruction of human organs. There has been success in creating some of the simpler organs, such as the esophagus and bladder, and a Medical Center in Galveston has implanted re-engineered lung is a pig. As of my latest conversation with the lead Doctor on the project, results so far are promising.

There is general agreement among the researchers with whom I have communicated that we are between 5 and 20 years away from human trials of re-generated lungs using the patient's own stem cells, but more funding means more research which means more possibilities of the saving of lives.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Jim Nelson - COPD Foundation MASAC/CAC/BOARD Committee Member


25 net votes
32 up votes
7 down votes
Idea No. 856