Mesenchymal stromal cell therapy for COVID-19-induced ARDS patients: a successful phase 1, control-placebo group, clinical trial.

Journal: Stem Cell Research & Therapy
Treatment Used: Mesenchymal Stromal Cell (MSC) Therapy
Number of Patients: 20
MediFind Summary

Summary: This study examined the safety of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) in the treatment of patients with COVID-19-related acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

Conclusion: In patients with COVID-19-related acute respiratory distress syndrome, treatment with mesenchymal stromal cells is safe.


Background: Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is the devastating complication of the new COVID-19 pandemic, directly correlated with releasing large amounts of inflammatory cytokines. Due to their immunoregulatory features, mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) provide a promising approach against this disease. In this regard, this study was designed as a single-center, open-label, phase 1 clinical trial with a control group to examine the safety and explore the possible potency of three injections of umbilical cord-derived MSCs (UC-MSCs) in mild-moderate COVID-19-induced ARDS patients.

Methods: Twenty confirmed COVID-19 patients with mild-to-moderate ARDS degree entered the study and were divided into two groups: control group (standard care) and intervention group (standard care + UC-MSCs). The patients received three intravenous infusions of UC-MSCs (1 × [Formula: see text] cells/kg BW per injection) every other day. Respiratory markers, CRP levels and specific serum cytokines were assessed four times (days of 0, 5, 10 and 17) during the 17-day follow-up period.

Results: During the study, there were no serious adverse effects after cell transplantations. Besides, significant improvement in SPO2/FIO2 ratio and serum CRP levels was observed. On the other hand, a significant decrease (P < 0.05) in serum cytokine levels of IL-6, IFN-g, TNF-α, IL-17 A and a significant increase in serum cytokine levels of TGF-B, IL-1B and IL-10 were observed. Also, no significant changes were observed in CT scan images of patients during the study period.

Conclusions: Our obtained results demonstrated that multiple intravenous transplantations of allogenic UC-MSCs in non-severe COVID-19-induced ARDS patients are a safe procedure. In addition, this intervention is a hopeful approach to decline cytokine storm and recover respiratory functions. Indeed, more clinical trials with larger sample sizes are required to confirm these results. Trial registration This clinical trial was registered with the Iranian Registry of Clinical Trials (ID: IRCT20160809029275N1 at 2020.05.30).

Najmeh Kaffash Farkhad, Alireza Sedaghat, Hamidreza Reihani, Amir Adhami Moghadam, Ahmad Bagheri Moghadam, Nayereh Khadem Ghaebi, Mohammad Khodadoust, Rashin Ganjali, Amir Tafreshian, Jalil Tavakol Afshari

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