Review of Trials Currently Testing Stem Cells for Treatment of Respiratory Diseases: Facts Known to Date and Possible Applications to COVID-19.Stem Cell Rev Rep. 2021 02; 17(1):44-55.SC
Therapeutic clinical and preclinical studies using cultured cells are on the rise, especially now that the World Health Organization (WHO) declared coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) a "public health emergency of international concern", in January, 2020. Thus, this study aims to review the outcomes of ongoing clinical studies on stem cells in Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The results will be associated with possible applications to COVID-19. Only three clinical trials related to stem cells are considered complete, whereby two are in Phase 1 and one is in Phase 2. Basically, the ongoing studies on coronavirus are using mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from bone marrow or the umbilical cord to demonstrate their feasibility, safety, and tolerability. The studies not related to coronavirus are all in ARDS conditions; four of them are in Phase 1 and three in Phase 2. With the COVID-19 boom, many clinical trials are being carried out using different sources with an emphasis on MSC-based therapy used to inhibit inflammation. One of the biggest challenges in the current treatment of COVID-19 is the cytokine storm, however MSCs can prevent or mitigate this cytokine storm through their immunomodulatory capacity. We look forward to the results of the ongoing clinical trials to find a treatment for the disease. Researchers around the world are joining forces to help fight COVID-19. Stem cells used in the current clinical studies are a new therapeutic promise for COVID-19 where pharmacological treatments seem insufficient.Graphical Abstract.