Groundbreaking Treatment for Severe COVID-19 Using Stem Cells – “It’s Like Smart Bomb Technology in the Lung”

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UC-MSCs Migration

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Umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells naturally move straight to the lung where they start repair work to COVID-19 damage. Credit: © Dr. Camillo Ricordi

Study took a look at dealing with serious COVID-19 with umbilical-cord obtained mesenchymal stem cells.

University of Miami Miller School of Medicine scientists led a unique and innovative randomized regulated trial revealing umbilical cable obtained mesenchymal stem cell infusions securely decrease threat of death and quicken time to healing for the severest COVID-19 clients, according to outcomes released in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine in January 2021.

The research study’s senior author, Camillo Ricordi, M.D., director of the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) and Cell Transplant Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, stated dealing with COVID-19 with mesenchymal stem cells makes good sense.

Results: treatment group vs. control group

The paper explains findings from 24 clients hospitalized at University of Miami Tower or Jackson Memorial Hospital with COVID-19 who established serious intense breathing distress syndrome. Each got 2 infusions provided days apart of either mesenchymal stem cells or placebo.

“It was a double-blind study. Doctors and patients didn’t know what was infused,” Dr. Ricordi stated. “Two infusions of 100 million stem cells were delivered within three days, for a total of 200 million cells in each subject in the treatment group.”

Researchers discovered the treatment was safe, without any infusion-related major negative occasions.

Camillo Ricordi

Camillo Ricordi, M.D., director of the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) and Cell Transplant Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Credit: University of Miami Health System

Patient survival at one month was 91% in the stem cell cured group versus 42% in the control group. Among clients more youthful than 85 years of ages, 100% of those treated with mesenchymal stem cells endured at one month.

Dr. Ricordi and associates likewise discovered time to healing was much faster amongst those in the treatment arm. More than half of clients treated with mesenchymal stem cell infusions recuperated and went house from the health center within 2 weeks after the last treatment. More than 80% of the treatment group recuperated by day 30, versus less than 37% in the control group.

“The umbilical cord contains progenitor stem cells, or mesenchymal stem cells, that can be expanded and provide therapeutic doses for over 10,000 patients from a single umbilical cord. It’s a unique resource of cells that are under investigation for their possible use in cell therapy applications, anytime you have to modulate immune response or inflammatory response,” he stated. “We’ve been studying them with our collaborators in China for more than 10 years in Type 1 Diabetes, and there are currently over 260 clinical studies listed in clinicaltrials.gov for treatment of other autoimmune diseases.”

Mesenchymal stem cells prospective to bring back typical immune action

Mesenchymal cells not just assist remedy immune and inflammatory actions that go awry, they likewise have actually antimicrobial activity and have been revealed to promote tissue regrowth.

“Our results confirm the powerful anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory effect of UC-MSC. These cells have clearly inhibited the ‘cytokine storm’, a hallmark of severe COVID-19,” stated Giacomo Lanzoni, Ph.D, lead author of the paper and assistant research study teacher at the Diabetes Research Institute. “The results are critically important not only for COVID-19 but also for other diseases characterized by aberrant and hyperinflammatory immune responses, such as autoimmune Type 1 Diabetes.”

When provided intravenously, mesenchymal stem cells move naturally to the lungs. That’s where treatment is required in COVID-19 clients with severe breathing distress syndrome, a hazardous issue connected with serious swelling and fluid accumulation in the lungs.

“It seemed to me that these stem cells could be an ideal treatment option for severe COVID-19,” stated Dr. Ricordi, Stacy Joy Goodman Professor of Surgery, Distinguished Professor of Medicine, and teacher of biomedical engineering, microbiology and immunology. “It requires only an intravenous (IV) infusion, like a blood transfusion. It’s like smart bomb technology in the lung to restore normal immune response and reverse life-threatening complications.”

Early success with mesenchymal stem cells

When the pandemic emerged, Dr. Ricordi asked partners in China if they had actually studied mesenchymal stem cell treatment in COVID-19 clients. In reality, they and Israeli scientists reported terrific success dealing with COVID-19 clients with the stem cells, oftentimes with 100% of cured clients making it through and recuperating faster than those without stem cell treatment.

But there was extensive apprehension about these preliminary outcomes, due to the fact that none of the research studies had actually been randomized, where clients arbitrarily got treatment or a control service (placebo), to compare lead to comparable groups of clients.

“We approached the FDA and they approved our proposed randomized controlled trial in one week, and we started as quickly as possible,” Dr. Ricordi stated.

Dr. Ricordi dealt with numerous essential partners at the Miller School, the University of Miami Health System, Jackson Health System, and worked together with others in the U.S. and globally, consisting of Arnold I. Caplan, Ph.D., of Case Western Reserve University, who initially explained mesenchymal stem cells.

Next actions

The next action is to study usage of the stem cells in COVID-19 clients who have actually not yet ended up being significantly ill however are at threat of needing to be intubated, to figure out if the infusions avoid illness development.

The findings have ramifications for research studies in other illness, too, according to Dr. Ricordi.

Hyper-immune and hyper-inflammatory actions in autoimmune illness may share a typical thread with why some COVID-19 clients shift to serious kinds of the illness and others don’t.

“Autoimmunity is a huge difficulty for health care, as is COVID-19. Autoimmunity impacts 20% of the American population and consists of over 100 illness conditions, of which Type 1 Diabetes can be thought about simply the suggestion of the iceberg. What we are discovering is that there might be a typical thread and threat elements that can incline to both an autoimmune illness or to a serious response following viral infections, such as SARS-CoV-2,” he stated.

The DRI Cell Transplant Center is preparing to develop a big repository of mesenchymal stem cells that are prepared to utilize and can be dispersed to healthcare facilities and centers in North America, he stated.

“These could be used not only for COVID-19 but also for clinical trials to treat autoimmune diseases, like Type 1 Diabetes,” Dr. Ricordi stated. “If we could infuse these cells at the onset of Type 1 Diabetes, we might be able to block progression of autoimmunity in newly diagnosed subjects, and progression of complications in patients affected by the disease long-term. We are planning such a trial specifically for diabetes nephropathy, a kidney disease that is one of the major causes of dialysis and kidney transplantation. We are also planning to do a study on umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cell transplantation in combination with pancreatic islets to see if you can modulate the immune response to an islet transplant locally.”

Funding by The Cure Alliance made releasing the preliminary trial possible, while a $3 million grant from North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) permitted Dr. Ricordi and associates to finish the scientific trial and broaden research study with mesenchymal stem cells.

“North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) has been a major supporter of the Diabetes Research Institute since 1984, when they started a campaign to fund, and build, our state-of-the-art research and treatment facility. NABTU has continued to support our work through the years, including our mesenchymal stem cell research that helped lead the way to this clinical trial,” he stated.

Reference: 5 January 2021, STEM CELLS Translational Medicine.

All the companies moneying the research study are not-for-profit entities, consisting of the Barilla Group and Family, The Fondazione Silvio Tronchetti Provera, the Simkins Family Foundation and the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation. The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences likewise offered financing.

Coauthors on the NEJM paper consist of: Giacomo Lanzoni, Ph.D., assistant research study teacher, DRI; Elina Linetsky, Ph.D., DRI director of quality control and regulative affairs; Diego Correa, M.D., Ph.D., assistant teacher (Research) Dept. of Orthopaedics and the DRI, accessory assistant teacher of biology at Case Western Reserve University; Shari Messinger Cayetano, Ph.D., associate teacher of Public Health Sciences at the Miller School; Roger A. Alvarez, D.O., M.P.H., a pulmonologist with UHealth Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine; Antonio C Marttos, M.D., a UHealth basic cosmetic surgeon; Ana Alvarez Gil, DRI; Raffaella Poggioli, M.D., DRI; Phillip Ruiz, M.D., Ph.D., department of Surgery at the Miller School and the UHealth Anatomic Pathology department; Khemraj Hirani, M.Pharm., Ph.D., R.Ph., CCRP, CIP, RAC, M.B.A., director of regulative affairs and quality control at the DRI; Crystal A. Bell, department of medication at the Miller School; Halina Kusack, department of Medicine, Miller School; Lisa Rafkin, research study assistant teacher, DRI; Rodolfo Alejandro, M.D., teacher of Medicine at the Miller School, co-director of the Cell Transplant Center, and director/attending doctor of the Clinical Cell Transplant Program at the DRI; David Baidal, M.D., assistant teacher of Medicine in the department of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism at the Miller School and member of the DRI’s Clinical Islet Transplant Program; Andrew Pastewski, M.D., Jackson Health System; Kunal Gawri, Miller School and University of Miami Health System; Dimitrios Kouroupis, postdoctoral research study fellow at the Miller School; Clarissa Leñero, DRI; Alejandro M.A. Mantero, Ph.D., lead research study expert, department of Health Sciences at the Miller School; Xiaojing Wang, DRI; Luis Roque, DRI; Burlett Masters, DRI; Norma S. Kenyon, Ph.D., deputy director and the Martin Kleiman teacher of Surgery, Microbiology and Immunology and Biomedical Engineering at the DRI; Enrique Ginzburg, M.D., chief of Surgery at University of Miami Hospital and Trauma Medical Director at Jackson South Community Hospital; Xiumin Xu, DRI; Jianming Tan, M.D., Ph.D., Fuzhou General Hospital, Fujian, China; Arnold I. Caplan, Ph.D., teacher of Biology at Case Western Reserve University; and Marilyn Glassberg, M.D., department chief of Pulmonary Medicine, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.