COVID-19 patients dependent on ventilators showed promising results when treated with new drug in New York’s Mt. Sinai hospital.
The U.S Food and Drug Administration approved Mesoblast’s Investigational New Drug (IND) application to treat patients with COVID-19−related Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) using remestemcel-L, an intravenous (IV) infusion of allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs).
ARDS is a severe acute injury of the lungs due to damage of lung alveoli, the sacs responsible for oxygen exchange to and from the bloodstream. In the case of ARDS resulting from COVID-19 infection, there is an excessive immune activation of white blood cells that secrete massive levels of inflammatory cytokines (cytokine storm).
Cytokine storms (whether due to COVID-19 or other etiologies) can lead to damage of the lung tissue and deprive the patient of adequate oxygen exchange function of the lungs, as well as cause damage to other organs. Susceptible patients can develop ARDS within days of experiencing the first symptoms of COVID-19 infection. Studies conducted globally address various immunological means to halt or limit the cytokine storms.
MSCs are key to the treatment of patients with ARDS due to their well-known immunomodulatory nature. Results of a clinical trial in China using MSCs in people with ARDS suggest that addressing the abnormal immune response can limit the development of the cytokine storm, prevent the progression of ARDS, and promote increased survival of patients.
Treating patients with ARDS hospitalized at Mt. Sinai hospital using Mesoblast’s allogeneic MSCs product candidate, remestemcel-L, within the first 5 days of symptoms had promising results.
An 83% survival rate was observed in patients with COVID-19 infection and who depended on ventilator support. Within 10 days of treatment, 75% no longer needed ventilator support. Soon thereafter, 7 of the 12 patients were discharged from the hospital.
However, only 9% of patients on ventilators due to COVID-19 at another hospital and treated with standard therapies were able to be taken off ventilator support, and the mortality rate for these patients was nearly 90%. Mesoblast’s Phase 2/3 trial will apply rigorous statistical analyses to best determine if treatment with MSCs is a sound, reliable, and safe treatment for COVID-19−related ARDS.
Learn more about HemaCare’s efforts to fight COVID-19.
83% Survival in COVID-19 Patients with Moderate/Severe Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Treated in New York with Mesoblast’s Cell Therapy Remestemcel-L. (2020). Retrieved 15 May 2020, from https://seekingalpha.com/pr/17847707-83-survival-in-covidminus-19-patients-moderate-severe-acute-respiratory-distress-syndrome