The hope and promise of stem cell therapies is being illustrated by the plethora of academic research studies being published at an accelerating velocity. I have gathered several that I find very compelling. Please read on for the articles and my assessment and translation of what this means for our patients.
“Transplantation of ACE2” Mesenchymal Stem Cells Improves the Outcomes of Patients with COVID-19 Pneumonia” Aging and Disease. 2020, Vol 11(2): 216-228. http://www.aginganddisease.org/EN/10.14336/AD.2020.0228
This study is important because we are struggling to effectively treat the dreaded complication of COVID-19 infection: diffuse pneumonia (it’s in all of the lungs rather just one part as in bacterial pneumonia) and failure of other organs that is killing patients. To date, this study offers the most hopeful and effective treatment for severe COVID-19 infection.
“A First-in-Human, Phase 1 Study of Neural Stem Cell Transplantation for Chronic Spinal Cord Injury” Clinical Progress. Jun 2018, Vol 22(6): 941-950.E6. https://www.cell.com/cell-stem-cell/fulltext/S1934-5909%2818%2930232-7
This study is important because we do not currently have a method to repair spinal cord injuries. The loss of motor and sensory function not only irrevocably changes the patient’s life but also means the patient will struggle with wounds, blood clots and severe infections that become progressively antibiotic resistant. Life expectancy is drastically decreased to the spinal cord injury and the resulting complications. We have not been able to improve life expectancy in these patients in the last 30 years.