Whilst the production of a safe and effective vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 is the ultimate aim of the COVID-19 response, research is also underway to develop novel treatments that could help infected patients in the meantime. One growing area of interest is the use of stem cell therapy: the results of two studies conducted in China indicate that its use seems to be particularly efficient in the case of severely ill patients, and the US Food and Drug Administration recently authorized compassionate use of mesenchymal stem cell intravenous infusions in patients with a very dismal prognosis.
To learn more about the science behind stem cell therapies and how such a therapy would be produced and administered to COVID-19 patients, Technology Networks recently spoke with Giuseppe Mucci, CEO, Bioscience Institute.
Anna Macdonald (AM): Can you explain some of the immunomodulatory effects stem cells can have and why this is particularly significant for COVID-19 patients?
Giuseppe Mucci (GM): Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) are multipotent cells found in various locations in the body including adipose tissue, bone marrow, placenta and umbilical cord. These cells can be easily harvested, isolated, cultured and used in cell-based therapy, from basic research to clinical trials. Safety and effectiveness have been clearly documented in many clinical trials, especially in the immune-mediated inflammatory diseases, such as graft versus-host disease and systemic lupus erythematosus. MSCs play a positive role mainly in two ways, namely immunomodulatory effects and differentiation abilities. MSCs can secrete many types of cytokines by paracrine secretion or make