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Blog / Stem Cells

Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy for Severe COVID-19

A recent research article published in "Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy" conducted by Lei Shi et al. has summarized the recent progress of mesenchymal stem cell therapy for COVID-19 and highlighted that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can serve as a therapeutic tool to regulate the overactive inflammatory response caused by COVID-19.

Updated:

September 27, 2021

Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy for Severe COVID-19

David Lyons

Guest contributor

Sep 27, 2021

Louis A. Cona, MD

Medical Director | DVC Stem

A recent research article published in "Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy" conducted by Lei Shi et al. has summarized the recent progress of mesenchymal stem cell therapy for COVID-19 and highlighted that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can serve as a therapeutic tool to regulate the overactive inflammatory response caused by COVID-19.

The coronavirus disease, still prevalent throughout the world in 2021 is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and has affected roughly 184 million people worldwide. (3)  (SARS-CoV-2) more commonly known as COVID-19 has caused more than 4.7 million people worldwide since the beginning of the pandemic with the numbers still increasing.  Although the virological characteristics and pathogenesis (the process by which a disease or disorder develops) has been clarified, there is currently no specific therapeutic measure.  Severe cases of COVID-19 infection can lead to immune disorder and damage to the body's natural immune response.  

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) can serve as a therapeutic tool to regulate the overactive inflammatory response caused by COVID-19.  Many clinical trials involving the use of mesenchymal stem cell therapy have been conducted since the beginning of the pandemic in 2019.  The findings suggest that MSC treatment can significantly reduce lung damage, and improve patient recovery with safety and healthy immune tolerance.

Mesenchymal stem cell therapy has also proven to be a much safer alternative therapy compared to traditional treatments for treating influenza in animal models.

A recent research article published in "Signal Transduction and Targeted Therapy" conducted by Lei Shi et al. has summarized the recent progress of mesenchymal stem cell therapy for COVID-19 and highlighted both the impacts and challenges of the field.


Importance of stem cell therapy for COVID-19

SARS-CoV-2 infection directly leads to immune disorder in both adaptive and innate immune responses. (1)  This inflammatory profile in COVID-19 patients has been well characterized.  According to Lei Shi et al. "Specifically, the proportions of natural killer (NK) cells, CD4 + T cells, and CD8 + T cells significantly decrease."  This results in an inflammatory immune reaction within the lungs that can be detrimental to organ function.


Immune system modulation and therapeutic principles of MSCs

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are the most widely utilized type of stem cell in clinical practice because they are widely regarded as safe and have the ability to avoid rejection when administered into the body. 

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) exhibit characteristics that suppress the excessive immune response observed in severe COVID-19.  Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) regulate the immune system by promoting an inflammatory response when the immune system is under-activated and reducing inflammation when the immune system is overactivated. MSCs can play a key role in preventing the immune system from attacking itself similar to what one may see in many autoimmune disorders. According to a 2013 study conducted by Bernardo et al. MSCs, when exposed to sufficient levels of pro-inflammatory markers (cytokines) respond by promoting an immune-suppressive response to dampen inflammation and promote tissue homeostasis. (2)


"Thus, MSCs may offer a therapeutic option for patients with severe or critical COVID-19, potentially contributing to recovery from lung damage, suppressing the over-activated inflammatory response, and influencing the progression of pulmonary fibrosis. In both animal models and humans, MSC treatment has been observed to reduce pulmonary lesions and inhibit the inflammatory response induced by influenza virus infection." (1)



Clinical trials show positive results

The study conducted by Lei Shi et al. reviewed several clinical trials testing the effectiveness MSCs for moderate or severe COVID-19, in addition to three trials for patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome. All of these studies determined that mesenchymal stem cell therapy (MSCT) was safe and well-tolerated.

The mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) utilized in these studies were delivered intravenously and sourced from the umbilical cord tissue, adipose tissue, or bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells.

Participants in the trial experienced an improved fraction of inspired O2 (FiO2) and partial pressure of oxygen (PO2) levels, alongside an improvement in other clinical parameters and a significant reduction in COVID-related symptoms. Inflammatory cytokine levels were seen to lower in several studies. Additionally, one of the studies monitoring the volume of lung fibrosis lesions observed a notable reduction in size. (1)

The rate of adverse events analyzed throughout the study participants suggests that mesenchymal stem cell therapy is safe and could be beneficial for COVID-19 patients.


Treatment strategies and outlook 

Mesenchymal stem cell therapies (MSCT) currently provide both an exciting and challenging opportunity for COVID-19 patients.  MSCs have been shown to be optimal candidates for reducing inflammation, contributing to organ recovery, preventing long-term pulmonary disability, and reducing mortality.  While it is possible to obtain this treatment internationally, participation within the United States is still limited to small-scale clinical trials and is not yet available to the general public.  To learn more about stem cell therapy for COVID-19 you can visit: https://www.dvcstem.com/covid-19-protocol



References: 

(1) Shi, L., Wang, L., Xu, R., Zhang, C., Xie, Y., Liu, K., Li, T., Hu, W., Zhen, C., & Wang, F.-S. (2021, September 8). Mesenchymal stem cell therapy for Severe covid-19. Nature News. Retrieved September 27, 2021, from https://www.nature.com/articles/s41392-021-00754-6.

(2) Bernardo, M. E., & Fibbe, W. E. (2013). Mesenchymal Stromal Cells: Sensors and Switchers of Inflammation. Cell Stem Cell13(4), 392–402. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.stem.2013.09.006

(3) WHO. Coronavirus disease (COVID-2019) situation reports, https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports (2021).

"Dr. Cona is a leading edge stem cell treatment physician"

Matthew Murry - MS Patient

2 DAYS POST TREATMENT

"Is the video I posted from this morning! My speech is so easy for me now, got easier throughout the day! I can talk like a NYer (fast) for the first time in years! Praise God!"

- Matthew Murry

EXCITING IMPROVEMENTS

Only 3 days after treatment, Matthew is now able to touch his nose with his eyes closed as well as touch his thumb and pinky together. Both of which he was previously unable to do before treatment.

We are excited to see his continued progress. His story will be updated here so keep an eye out!

Matthew showing his progress with mobility

Matthew Murry - 3 days post treatment

"This is exciting stuff, god bless"

Matthew Murry - MS Patient

2 WEEKS POST TREATMENT

Matthew experiences sensation in the bottom of his feet after receiving a simple nerve test.

His left foot did not experience any sensation or move at all, but what happened to his right foot is extremely exciting!

50 DAYS POST TREATMENT

Matthew is now able to lift his leg unassisted. He was previously unable to do so.

Matthew is experiencing the benefits of stem cell therapy first hand. You can view his progress video here.


Matthew showing some amazing mobility improvements.

Matthew Murry - 50 days post treatment

"Amazing progress from one of our MS patients Matthew Murray"

Louis A. Cona, MD - DVC Stem

3 MONTHS POST TREATMENT

Matthew is able to stand up with the assistance of stability bars.

David Lyons

Multiple Sclerosis

Although David Lyons was able to successfully fight Multiple Sclerosis through a strict regimen of diet and exercise, he wanted to ensure he was doing everything he could to stay fit. Multiple Sclerosis can be managed with treatment, but there is currently no cure for the disease. For that reason, David came to DVC Stem years ago to use the regenerative and anti-inflammatory attributes of stem cells to aid in his fight for fitness.

The positive results he experienced enabled David to stay strong in the gym, now into his 60s, and that is why he continues to support our clinic to this day.

About the author

Louis A. Cona, MD

Louis A. Cona, MD

Dr. Cona has been performing stem cell therapy for over 10 years. He is a member of the World Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (WAAAM). He is also a recognized member of the British Medical Association, the General Medical Council (UK), the Caribbean College of Family Physicians, and the American Academy of Family Physicians. He is the Medical Director for DVC Stem a world-renowned stem cell therapy clinic located in Grand Cayman.

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