Stem cell drug shows promise for ventilator-dependent COVID-19 patients

Source: Xinhua| 2020-04-24 15:39:24|Editor: huaxia

SYDNEY, April 24 (Xinhua) -- An Australian drug manufacturer has claimed success treating COVID-19 patients who were dependent on ventilators, revealing that seven out of 12 seriously ill patients were discharged from hospital after receiving an experimental stem cell product.

The study involved 12 ventilator-dependent COVID-19 patients with moderate/severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and was conducted at New York City's Mt Sinai Hospital in the United States - Aussie company, Mesoblast said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) on Friday.

According to the statement, nine out of the 12 subjects successfully came off ventilator support, a median of 10 days after being treated with two intravenous infusions of Mesoblast's allogeneic mesenchymal stem cell product candidate named remestemcel-L.

In comparison, it claimed that ventilator-dependent COVID-19 patients at a second major referral hospital network in New York City recorded only a 12 percent survival rate during the same period.

However, it is unclear whether the stem cell product was the sole cause of their recovery because the patients received a variety of other experimental agents prior to remestemcel-L.

Mesoblast Chief Executive Dr. Silviu Itescu said the results showed the drug's ability to prevent an inflammatory response called a cytokine storm, which is an overreaction by the immune system to COVID-19 and has caused many deaths among patients.

"The remarkable clinical outcomes in these critically ill patients continue to underscore the potential benefits of remestemcel-L as an anti-inflammatory agent in cytokine release syndromes associated with high mortality, including acute graft versus host disease and COVID-19 ARDS," Itescu said.

"We intend to rapidly complete the randomized, placebo-controlled Phase 2/3 trial in COVID-19 ARDS patients to rigorously confirm that remestemcel-L improves survival in these critically ill patients." Enditem