A North Texas teenager who battled severe asthma for years is breathing free and clear again after doctors used stem cell therapy to temporarily treat his condition.
Kenton Crenshaw, 18, of Crowley, never knew when his asthma would strike.
"Like 2, 3, 4 in the morning and it just hits me and I freak out," Crenshaw said.
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"My asthma stopped me from doing lots of stuff that I wanted to do," he added.
Activity, even as light as walking outside, came with risk.
"I spent eight Christmases in the hospital because of asthma – days or weeks long, birthdays – it's just controlled my life," he said.
Crenshaw took countless medications but nothing seemed to help, so his family brought him to Dr. Bill Johnson at Innovations Medical in Dallas.
Johnson is one of a growing group of doctors using stem cell therapy to treat various diseases.
"The stem cells have the ability to reproduce and become other types of tissue, and that's what makes them so special," Johnson said.
Johnson took a small amount of fat from the Crenshaw through liposuction and separated the stem cells in a centrifuge.
He then mixes the stem cells with a solution, which is given back to patients, like Crenshaw, through intravenous therapy or breathing treatments.
"He has an overactive immune system with his lungs and airways, and what the stem cells can do is turn that down, decrease inflammation, and he's had a remarkable course," Johnson said, of Crenshaw.
It's been a few months since the treatments, and Crenshaw says he hasn't needed many of his medications.
"I felt like I never had asthma, like I feel perfect. I didn't do one breathing treatment in almost three months and I used to do four to six breathing treatments a day," he said.
The treatment isn't said to cure his asthma, but the results can last a year possible longer.
"I hope I never have an asthma attack the rest of my life," Crenshaw said.
Stem cell therapy treatments cost upwards of $7,000 and are not covered by insurance.