Therapy with unmodified stem cells from the connective tissue of the umbilical cord doubles the chances of survival of patients with Covid-19 in very serious condition, according to a study published in «
STEM CELLS Translational Medicine».
The clinical trial, conducted in four hospitals in Jakarta (Indonesia) also shows that the administration of this treatment to Covid-19 patients with a chronic disease, such as diabetes, hypertension, or kidney disease it quadrupled their survival.
Although this is a small study, the 40 patients who participated in the randomized, controlled, double-blind study were adults in intensive care who had been intubated due to Covid-19-induced pneumonia.
Half received intravenous infusions containing umbilical mesenchymal stromal cells or stem cells derived from the connective tissue of an umbilical cord, and half received infusions without them.
The survival rate among those who received the stem cells was a 2.5 times higher and increased to 4.5 times, in patients with Covid-19 who had chronic health diseases, explains Ismail Hadisoebroto Dilogo, author of the research.
The work also reveals that stem cell infusion is safe and well tolerated, with no life-threatening complications or acute allergic reactions in seven days of post-infusion follow-up.
Previous clinical trials had already shown that this treatment in patients with Covid-19 pneumonia increases survival and speeds recovery, but this study is the first to treat critically ill and intubated Covid-19 pneumonia patients with cheulas manipulated or not genetically.
‘Unlike other studies, our trial used stem cells obtained through explants (living tissue separated from its own organ and transferred to an artificial growth medium) from umbilical cord tissue and have not been manipulated to exclude ACE2, a cellular protein that is believed to be an entry point for Covid-19, “he says. Dialogue.
Some research suggests that one of the main causes of acute respiratory distress in Covid-19 patients is the so-called «cytokine storm», Which causes the immune system to flood the bloodstream with inflammatory proteins.
«We do not know the precise cause of the storm in cytokinesBut our study indicates that the presence of unmanipulated umbilical cord stromal stem cells improves patient survival by modulating the immune system towards an anti-inflammatory immune state, ”the researchers say.
Dilogo concludes that although this is a study conducted in a small number of patients, “we believe that this experimental treatment could lead to an effective adjuvant therapy for Covid-19 patients in intensive care who do not respond to conventional supportive treatment.”
For Anthony Atala, Editor-in-Chief of the magazine and Director of the
Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (USA), “This study provides promising results that could increase survival rates.”