COVID-19 Cellular Therapy: Spanish Researchers Show That New Stem Cell Therapy Reduces Severity, Mortality And Intubation Period For ICU COVID-19 Patients
COVID-19 Cellular Therapy
. Spanish researchers announced that a cellular therapy tested on 13 intubated patients with mechanical ventilation has shown to be efficient for the clinical improvement of critical cases of COVID-19.
The research which is the broadest published to date in these conditions, has been published in journal: The Lancet's EClinical Medicine, after proving that the advanced treatment decreases mortality rates of critical patients with SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus from 85% to 15%. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/eclinm/article/PIIS2589-5370(20)30198-X/fulltext
The study findings were are the first results of the BALMYS-19 project, co-led by Professor Dr Bernat Soria from the Miguel Hernández University (UMH) and a researcher at the Health Research Institute of Alicante (ISABIAL), together with ProfessorDr Damián García-Olmo from the Jiménez Díaz foundation (Autonomous University of Madrid).
A total of seven Spanish universities and six hospitals have taken part in the study.
Dr Soria began his research on the use of cellular therapy at the UMH and, afterwards, at the National University Hospital of Singapore during the Asian epidemic of SARS-1 in 2003 where he observed the intense pulmonary infiltrates in the biopsies of these patients.
However, unlike SARS-1, in the infection by coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the clinical picture shows a depression of the immune system (lymphopenia), a widespread extreme inflammatory response, tissue damage, hypercoagulability and intense pulmonary distress that requires admission in the ICU.
This new advanced therapy used in the study, is based on stem cells with regenerative, anti-inflammatory and immunoregulating properties, and is the first cell therapy for COVID-19 entirely developed and produced in Spain.
For the pilot study, critical COVID-19 patients were treated who did not respond to conventional cellular therapy treatment, composed of allogeneic mesenchymal stromal cells, in doses of one million cells per kilo of weight, in one or several doses.
The results of its use in coronavirus patients admitted in ICUs were compared with the clinical evolution and mortality of similar cases.
The findings obtained, the new cellular therapy does not cause adverse reactions, but does entail an overall clinical and radiological improvement.
The mortality rate of patients decreased from 70-85% to 15% (two patients). A majority of people treated with the cellular therapy were extubated during the data collecting period.
Significantly, their inflammation (C-reactive protein and ferritin), coagulation (D-dimer) and tissue damage (lactate dehydrogenase) markers decreased.
In addition, it was verified that the drug did not decrease lymphocyte counts.
In fact, the results show that the new treatment increases the presence of T lymphocytes (which directly attack the virus) and B lymphocytes (which synthesize antibodies).
The researchers explained that cellular therapies, unlike other treatments
, are "live drugs" and must be used by qualified medical staff, and produced by departments accredited by the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products.
Proper knowledge on the biological scientific foundations of these treatments, as well as of the physiology of the interaction between the drug and the host, are essential for their appropriate handling.
Dr Bernat Soria also leads one of the four innovation and research projects in the fight against coronavirus at the UMH, chosen by the regional Valencian Government, as part of the #SúmateAlRetoContraElCovid-19 call, organised alongside the Valencian Innovation Agency (ACI).
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