The COVID-19 pandemic has taken our world by storm. Millions of people have contracted the virus with over 300,000 confirmed deaths. While self-isolation occurs across the globe, scientists and medical professionals are rushing to find safe and effective treatments to combat the disease.
Personalized Stem Cells, Inc. (PSC), a small, privately held biopharma company in San Diego recently announced the filing of an expediated Investigational New Drug application for the use of stem cells to treat COVID-19 patients. While awaiting FDA approval, PSC compiled a literature review documenting how stem cells may help alleviate symptoms associated with COVID-19 infection. The literature review entitled, Rationale for the Clinical Use of Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells for COVID-19 Patients, was published in the Journal of Translational Medicine.
In the literature review, the authors discuss the severe symptoms that can occur in COVID-19 patients and how treatment with stem cells may help. Infection with the novel coronavirus often progresses to severe respiratory distress and multi-organ failure, both of which may lead to death. The detrimental lung changes that can occur as a result of infection with COVID-19 can cause permanent damage. Recently, stem cell therapy was shown in some clinical studies to reduce patient mortality, and in some cases, improve long-term lung function.
PSC CEO, Dr. Robert Harman, has spent decades advancing the field of regenerative medicine. As co-founder of both PSC and VetStem Biopharma, the animal equivalent to PSC, Dr. Harman is a proponent of and expert in stem cell therapy. Dr. Harman stated, “The data suggests stem cells have the ability to reduce inflammation, reduce scar tissue formation, and to aid in clearing the lungs of fluid. Our goal is to decrease the need for ventilators and other critical supplies and ultimately reduce mortality.”
Cellular based therapies hold great promise for the treatment of COVID-19. While numerous human and animal studies have demonstrated the efficacy and safety of stem cell therapy for other conditions, further clinical trials are necessary to specifically look at the treatment of COVID-19. PSC anticipates FDA approval of a clinical trial for a limited number of COVID-19 patients who are severely ill.