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There is a lot of excitement surrounding the potential of stem cells to treat COVID-19 because stem cells can regenerate tissue and boost immunity, which could help treat acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), pulmonary inflammation, and edema.

So far, animal studies have yielded promising results using stem cells to treat ARDS. For example, one study showed that treatment with mesenchymal stem cells reduced lung injury and improved survival in mice with ARDS.

The potential benefits are fascinating and could help many people affected by this disease. A recent human clinical trial published in collaboration with our Chief Medical Officer covered how Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) have received particular attention due to their ability to inhibit inflammation caused by cytokine storm induced by COVID-19. At the same time, further studies are still needed to confirm the efficacy of stem cell therapy for COVID-19.

covid 19


1. Monguió-Tortajada M, Bayes-Genis A, Rosell A, Roura S. Are mesenchymal stem cells and derived extracellular vesicles valuable to halt the COVID-19 inflammatory cascade? Current evidence and future perspectives. Thorax. 2020:thoraxjnl-2020-215717. doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2020-215717.
2. Song N, Wakimoto H, Rossignoli F, Bhere D, Ciccocioppo R, Chen KS, et al. Mesenchymal stromal cell immunomodulation: In pursuit of controlling COVID-19 related cytokine storm. Stem Cells. 2021. doi: 10.1002/stem.3354.
3. Leng Z, Zhu R, Hou W, Feng Y, Yang Y, Han Q, et al. Transplantation of ACE2(-) Mesenchymal Stem Cells Improves the Outcome of Patients with COVID-19 Pneumonia. Aging Dis. 2020;11(2):216-228. doi: 10.14336/AD.2020.0228.
4. Atluri S, Manchikanti L, Hirsch JA. Expanded Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cells (UC-MSCs) as a Therapeutic Strategy in Managing Critically Ill COVID-19 Patients: The Case for Compassionate Use. Pain Physician. 2020;23(2):E71-E83.
5. Singh S, Chakravarty T, Chen P, Akhmerov A, Falk J, Friedman O, et al. Allogeneic cardiosphere-derived cells (CAP-1002) in critically ill COVID-19 patients: compassionate-use case series. Basic Res Cardiol. 2020;115(4):36. doi: 10.1007/s00395-020-0795-1.
6. Qu W, Wang Z, Hare JM, Bu G, Mallea JM, Pascual JM, et al. Cell-based therapy to reduce mortality from COVID-19: Systematic review and meta-analysis of human studies on acute respiratory distress syndrome. Stem Cells Transl Med. 2020. doi: 10.1002/sctm.20-0146.
7. Guo Z, Chen Y, Luo X, He X, Zhang Y, Wang J. Administration of umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells in patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia. Crit Care. 2020;24(1):420. doi: 10.1186/s13054-020-03142-8.
8. Metcalfe SM. Mesenchymal stem cells and management of COVID-19 pneumonia. Med Drug Discov. 2020:100019. doi: 10.1016/j.medidd.2020.100019.
9. Shu L, Niu C, Li R, Huang T, Wang Y, Huang M, et al. Treatment of severe COVID-19 with human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2020;11(1):361. doi: 10.1186/s13287-020-01875-5.
10. Sánchez-Guijo F, García-Arranz M, López-Parra M, Monedero P, Mata-Martínez C, Santos A, et al. Adipose-derived mesenchymal stromal cells for the treatment of patients with severe SARS-CoV-2 pneumonia requiring mechanical ventilation. A proof of concept study. EClinicalMedicine. 2020:100454. doi: 10.1016/j.eclinm.2020.100454.
11. Lanzoni G, Linetsky E, Correa D, Messinger Cayetano S, Alvarez RA, Kouroupis D, et al. Umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells for COVID-19 acute respiratory distress syndrome: A double-blind, phase 1/2a, randomized controlled trial. Stem Cells Transl Med. 2021. doi: 10.1002/sctm.20-0472.
12. Hashemian SR, Aliannejad R, Zarrabi M, Soleimani M, Vosough M, Hosseini SE, et al. Mesenchymal stem cells derived from perinatal tissues for treatment of critically ill COVID-19-induced ARDS patients: a case series. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2021;12(1):91. doi: 10.1186/s13287-021-02165-4.
13. Shi L, Huang H, Lu X, Yan X, Jiang X, Xu R, et al. Effect of human umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells on lung damage in severe COVID-19 patients: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 2 trial. Signal Transduct Target Ther. 2021;6(1):58. doi: 10.1038/s41392-021-00488-5.
14. Musial C, Gorska-Ponikowska M. Medical progress: Stem cells as a new therapeutic strategy for COVID-19. Stem Cell Res. 2021;52:102239. doi: 10.1016/j.scr.2021.102239.
15. Harrell CR, Sadikot R, Pascual J, Fellabaum C, Jankovic MG, Jovicic N, et al. Mesenchymal Stem Cell-Based Therapy of Inflammatory Lung Diseases: Current Understanding and Future Perspectives. Stem Cells Int. 2019;2019:4236973. doi: 10.1155/2019/4236973.
16. Lewis SR, Pritchard MW, Thomas CM, Smith AF. Pharmacological agents for adults with acute respiratory distress syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019;7:CD004477. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD004477.pub3.
17. Ji F, Li L, Li Z, Jin Y, Liu W. Mesenchymal stem cells as a potential treatment for critically ill patients with coronavirus disease 2019. Stem Cells Transl Med. 2020. doi: 10.1002/sctm.20-0083.
18. Khoury M, Cuenca J, Cruz FF, Figueroa FE, Rocco PRM, Weiss DJ. Current status of cell-based therapies for respiratory virus infections: applicability to COVID-19. Eur Respir J. 2020;55(6):2000858. doi: 10.1183/13993003.00858-2020.
19. Ghodsizad A, Grant AA, Mirsaeidi M, Sneij WC, Khalid L, Delazerda D, et al. Management of crash and burn patients with SARS-CoV-2 associated ARDS. J Card Surg. 2020. doi: 10.1111/jocs.14699.
20. Li Z, Niu S, Guo B, Gao T, Wang L, Wang Y, et al. Stem cell therapy for COVID-19, ARDS and pulmonary fibrosis. Cell Prolif. 2020:e12939. doi: 10.1111/cpr.12939.
21. Wu J, Zhou X, Tan Y, Wang L, Li T, Li Z, et al. Phase 1 trial for treatment of COVID-19 patients with pulmonary fibrosis using hESC-IMRCs. Cell Prolif. 2020;53(12):e12944. doi: 10.1111/cpr.12944.
22. Saburi E, Abazari M, Hasannia H, Nassiri Mansour R, Eshaghi-Gorji R, Gheibi M, et al. The use of mesenchymal stem cells in the process of treatment and tissue regeneration after recovery in patients with Covid-19. Gene. 2021:145471. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2021.145471.

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