Can stem cells help COVID-19 Patients?
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began there have been many studies conducted that aim to determine the safety and explore the efficacy of umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cell (UC‐MSC) infusions in subjects with COVID‐19. Mesenchymal stem cells administered intravenously may be able to significantly reduce significant adverse reactions, mortality, and time to recovery, in COVID-19 patients.
Stem cell treatment goals for post-acute COVID-19 syndrome
The therapeutic uses of stem cells as a potential therapy for a variety of diseases has been immensely explored, the number of clinical trials conducted with Mesenchymal Stem Cells has increased exponentially over the past few years.
What is post-acute COVID-19 Syndrome?
Similar to post-acute viral syndromes described in survivors of other virulent coronavirus epidemics, there are increasing reports of persistent and prolonged effects after acute COVID-19. Patient advocacy groups have helped contribute to the recognition of post-acute COVID-19, a syndrome characterized by persistent symptoms and/or delayed or long-term complications beyond 4 weeks from the onset of symptoms.
The stated primary goal of our COVID-19 protocol is the marked reduction in the levels of chronic low-grade inflammation for an extended period.
Stem cells have a unique, intrinsic property that attracts them to inflammation in the body. Studies have shown that stem cells can regenerate damaged or diseased tissues, reduce inflammation and modulate the immune system promoting better health and quality of life.
In regards to post-acute COVID-19 syndrome, patients can expect fewer long-term complications, improved recovery time, a reduction in persistent COVID-19 related symptoms & an overall decrease in inflammation throughout the body.
Critically ill COVID-19 Patient Successfully Treated with Mesenchymal Stem Cells
DVC Stem's partner lab Vitro Biopharma received emergency use authorization from the FDA to treat a critically ill COVID-19 patient with mesenchymal stem cells in the United States.
This patient was admitted to an emergency room with classic COVID-19 symptoms in late April and had several comorbidities before admission. While intubated in the intensive care unit (ICU), the patient’s condition worsened using the standard of care and treatment with convalescent plasma. The patient’s kidney and liver function began to fail, requiring dialysis. Additionally, the patient experienced sepsis and a stroke while in the ICU and was comatose for almost 7 weeks.
Following the treatment, the patient experienced resolution of multiple organ failure, recovery from coma, and restoration of the neurological, pulmonary, liver, and renal function. The patient was removed from assisted respiration and dialysis. The patient now eats, drinks, speaks, and has regained motor function. Measures of inflammation that were elevated at admission and rose during ICU treatment, returned to normal levels. The patient has recently been discharged from ICU and is currently undergoing physical therapy to recover from the stroke suffered while in the ICU.
“We are pleased to have achieved this milestone that was based on a thorough understanding of the science of stem cell biology,” said Dr. Jim Musick, of Vitro Biopharma.
“While regeneration of destroyed cells is a common effect of stem cell therapy, stem cells also regenerate damaged cells by various regenerative processes that restore normal organ function. The results of this case support the further study of mesenchymal stem cell therapy for COVID-19 patients and other conditions characterized by acute respiratory distress that are ultimately related to the inflammatory cytokine cascade that is neutralized. Our stem cell product appears to have a significant therapeutic application in the treatment of multi-organ failure related to COVID-19 infections.”
Why use umbilical cord tissue-derived stem cells for COVID-19?
Umbilical cord tissue is a natural bi-product of childbirth, but also rich in mesenchymal stem cells which can be used to help heal, regenerate, and treat a variety of conditions.
Cord-tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells do not face immune rejection within the body. They are youthful, immuno-privileged, undifferentiated cells that have yet to be “claimed.” There are also no blood products associated with them, removing the need for HLA matching; cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells are universally accepted.
Recent studies have shown that although stem cells can be found in every living person, their numbers and potency can diminish with age. Additionally, cells sourced from the tissues of those patients with autoimmune/degenerative conditions may contain components of those disorders, detracting from the effectiveness of their use in treatments. Cord tissue-derived stem cells bypass both of these issues, while remaining minimally invasive to the patient, and always available for immediate use.
1) Lanzoni, G., Linetsky, E., Correa, D., Cayetano, S., Alvarez, R., Kouroupis, D., . . . Ricordi, C. (2021, January 05). Umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells for COVID‐19 acute respiratory Distress syndrome: A DOUBLE‐BLIND, phase 1/2a, randomized controlled trial. Retrieved March 26, 2021, from https://stemcellsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/sctm.20-0472
Note: This post is intended to provide general information about regenerative medicine, and related areas. All content provided in this blog, website, or any linked materials, including text, graphics, images, patient outcomes, and information, are not intended and should not be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please always consult with a professional and certified healthcare provider to discuss if a treatment is right for you.
About the author
Louis A. Cona, MD
Medical Director | DVC Stem
Dr. Cona has been performing stem cell therapy for over 12 years. He is a member of the World Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (WAAAM). He is also a recognized member of the British Medical Association, the General Medical Council (UK), the Caribbean College of Family Physicians, and the American Academy of Family Physicians. He is the Medical Director for DVC Stem a world-renowned stem cell therapy clinic located in Grand Cayman.