Evidence of the effectiveness of cell therapy in the treatment of acute respiratory syndrome

For the first time, an international team of researchers has shown that the use of stem cells can prevent long-term effects in patients with severe inflammatory diseases of the pulmonary system. Such diseases are not only associated with high mortality but also lead to chronic diseases and even disability in most survivors.

The article was published in one of the oldest international medical journals, the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. Five years ago, two patients with multiple organ failure, who was on the extracorporeal membrane oxygenation apparatus with negative dynamics of clinical parameters, received a mesenchymal stem cell preparation.

After the introduction of the drug, they experienced a sharp improvement, and then a complete recovery. A medical examination after five years revealed practically no negative consequences of the disease and, according to some parameters, showed an excess of health indicators in these patients compared to their peers.

One of the complications of viral pulmonary disease is acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). With ARDS, uncontrolled pneumonia is observed, caused by an overreaction of the immune system, otherwise, this process is called a cytokine storm. To date, mortality from severe ARDS is about 40 percent, while patients with ARDS often have long-term pulmonary, neuromuscular, and cognitive symptoms. This reduces the quality of their subsequent life and leads to large expenditures of the healthcare system and social support of the population.

To date, there is no effective treatment for ARDS, and treatment is mainly aimed at supporting patients. The need for new therapeutic approaches has become especially urgent against the backdrop of the SARS-CoV-2 virus pandemic: ARDS is the direct cause of death in most (according to various sources, about 80 percent) patients with Covid-19.

“Methods of therapy using mesenchymal stem cells have repeatedly manifested themselves. Of particular interest are the immunoregulatory, immunosuppressive cell functions for diseases associated with systemic inflammation and activation of the immune response. Despite the fact that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have long been the focus of many scientific groups, the mechanisms of action have not yet been proven, especially in the case of acute inflammation. This greatly complicates the transfer of technology to the clinic.

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