22 Nov Will Stem cell therapy work for covid 19 (coronavirus)?
With Covid 19 continuing to affect millions of patients across the globe, effective treatments to help mitigate the harmful effects are critical to develop and be available to those in need. As the months go by, more and more research studies are pointing to stem cell therapy as one of those effective options. While we thought early on this might be the case, the number of studies showing positive results continues to add up!
A study out of Medicine in Drug Discovery in 2020 looked at a couple case studies including 8 patients that received treatment with large doses of mesenchymal stem cells. They were all critically ill with pneumonia secondary to Covid 19, and ALL of them achieve a miraculous recovery! According to the authors, “The finding that MSC are safe and can reverse severe critical disease with high potency is a major breakthrough representing an entirely new biological approach to treatment that needs to be developed urgently.”
Granted, the numbers involved in the case studies were small, So let’s look at some other studies!
In an April article of Nature titled, “COVID-19: immunopathology and its implications for therapy”, the authors pointed out MSC therapy as the most promising option on the horizon. They stated, “Another approach to alleviate COVID-19-related immunopathology involves mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which exert anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic effects, can repair pulmonary epithelial cell damage and promote alveolar fluid clearance. Encouraged by preclinical and clinical studies that confirmed their safety and efficacy in non-COVID-19-related pathologies, clinical trials of MSC-based therapy in patients with severe COVID-19 have been initiated in China and two trials are currently ongoing.”
Another article in Stem Cell Reviews and Reports from April 2020 titled,Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy for COVID-19: Present or Future, the authors presented a Table of over 30 ongoing clinical trials for MSC’s for Covid.
They stated this benefit: “After intravenous injection, part of the MSC population entraps in the lung, which often in systemic infusion it is remembered as a limitation. But here these MSCs could recover the pulmonary microenvironment, protect alveolar epithelial cells, intercept pulmonary fibrosis, and cure lung dysfunction and COVID-19 pneumonia ”
Another study out of Israel reported amazing results with six patients treated with MSC’s under the country’s compassionate use program. All six patients survived and did very well. The study, reported on HERE, is now expanding into multiple countries.
All in all, the results to date have been stellar in these small studies. Larger cohorts of data will come out soon, and hopefully a vaccine will come to fruition shortly as well!