The country’s first convalescent plasma transfusion trial results have been peer-reviewed and published, showing 19 out of 25 patients improving with the treatment and 11 discharged from the hospital. On March 28, Houston Methodist became the first academic medical center in the nation to transfuse plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients into two critically ill patients.
Changes in the way that health care is delivered during this pandemic are needed to reduce staff exposure to ill persons, preserve personal protective equipment (PPE), and minimize the impact of patient surges on facilities. Healthcare systems have had to adjust the way they triage, evaluate, and care for patients using methods that do not rely on in-person services.
Severe cases of COVID-19 infection, often leading to death, have been associated with variants of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Cell therapy with mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) is a potential treatment for COVID-19 ARDS based on preclinical and clinical studies supporting the concept that MSCs modulate the inflammatory and remodeling processes and restore alveolo-capillary barriers.
A new systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical studies using mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) led by a team at the Mayo Clinic, and including researchers from Emory, Duke, Case-Western, and the University of Miami, shows a trend toward improved outcomes and reduced mortality for patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a major complication for patients with COVID-19. This study—and several others—also have shown that MSCs are safe for patients.
In the midst of a global public health emergency, some businesses are taking advantage of widespread fears by marketing purported stem cell treatments for COVID-19. Such businesses target prospective clients with misleading claims, expose patients to potentially risky stem cell-based products, and undermine efforts to develop evidence-based treatments for COVID-19.
The immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties of MSCs in the treatment of
respiratory diseases were confirmed by more than 15 complete clinical studies, and
more than 70 trials in this regard were also registered (https://clinicaltrials.gov). The
umbilical cord, umbilical cord blood, Wharton’s jelly, menstrual blood, dental pulp and
MSCs produced by the company are important sources of MSC that will be used in
various clinical trials. However, the process of developing new therapeutic therapies
and their clinical application has important practical implications and is not over for
COVID-19 MSC therapy.