During the last decade, Stem Cell Therapy has become a groundbreaking alternative to offer recovery and health improvement for conditions that were previously known as untreatable.
Diseases from , , , , and even , are now treatable with .
However, Stem Cell Therapy is now taking a bigger step. Current studies claim that SCT is very useful for critical patients and might potentially become the answer to the current global pandemic, Covid-19.
A team of South Florida doctors has successfully treated seven critically ill COVID-19 patients with an experimental stem cell treatment for the first time, signaling a potential path to recovery for patients experiencing acute respiratory failure.
The doctors at Baptist Health South Florida, say the intravenous treatment is a “game-changer” and could pave the way for an effective treatment for patients in intensive care.
According to Dr. Rafael Gonzalez, senior vice president of research and development for RESTEM and leading scientist of the study, “Based on the properties of our cells and targeted treatments, our breakthrough technology has shown promise to help those suffering from COVID-19 complications.”
This treatment has already shown promising results in patients in the U.S. hospitalized with COVID-19 who also had developed acute respiratory distress syndrome or ARDS.
These patients were previously treated at Miami Cancer Institute, part of Baptist Health South Florida. The patients, who were all on ventilators, were treated with RESTEM umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells under emergency approval from the FDA, and two have now been discharged from the hospital.
How Does Covid-19 Affect The Immune System?
COVID-19 causes a cytokine storm in the body, that is, virus-activated immune cells secrete an excess of cellular markers (cytokines) that have damaging effects on their own tissues, causing swelling, and may gradually lead to organ failure.
How Does Stem Cells Help Fight Covid-19?
Umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells are powerful in immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory agents, and they help to normalize the immunologic system that has been altered by Covid-19. Stem cells also promote the healing of damaged tissues, that is why they have been used for a long time for the treatment of autoimmune conditions and even restoration of cartilages in .
In other words, stem cells fight Covid-19 by decreasing pulmonary, and overall body inflammation caused by the cytokine cascade triggered by coronavirus. Additionally, cells may improve pulmonary function as well as increase the number of lymphocytes and regulatory dendritic cells, that is, increases their own antiviral protection. Thus, restoring the body, and strengthening the immune system.
What is Next?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the 60-patient phase one and two studies for RESTEM, a cell-based therapeutics company, using umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells to treat patients with severe cases of COVID-19.
The utilized stem cells are grown from umbilical cord tissue by a proprietary process that allows millions of doses to be replicated rapidly. The trial will identify COVID-19 ARDS patients who could best benefit from ULSC and will develop randomized placebo-controlled evidence about the ability of these cells to heal patients with this disease.
Patients will be able to participate in the clinical trial both at Sanford Health and the Miami Cancer Institute.