Cell therapy, widely used in cancer treatment, has great potential against Covid-19. This is what emerges from the systematic review and meta-analysis conducted by researchers at the University of São Paulo (USP), in collaboration with German and US scientists. According to the study, the method can reduce the risk of death from skin diseases by 60%.
Details about the discovery were published by the magazine Frontiers of immunology
What is cell therapy?
Cellular therapy is a technique that involves introducing healthy cells into the patient’s body with the aim of restoring or modifying specific sets of cells, promoting therapy throughout the body, or modulating the functions of diseased cells.
The cells used in cell therapy can be derived from the patient himself (autologous) or from a donor (allogeneic), being grown or modified in the laboratory before being administered.
In recent years, cell therapy has made considerable progress and found applications not only in the treatment of cancer, but also autoimmune, cardiac and infectious diseases. In the case of Covid-19, the stem cell method has attracted attention for its ability to regulate the immune system and its tissue repair functions.
Main research findings:
This study revealed that cell therapies can serve as an adjuvant treatment for patients with severe COVID-19.
Otávio Cabral-Marques, professor at the USP Faculty of Medicine and coordinator of the study.
We analyzed 195 clinical trials of advanced cell therapies targeting the treatment of COVID-19, conducted in 30 countries from January 2020 to December 2021. 26 studies with results published up to July 2022 were also included.
The lack of standardization in testing has been a major challenge
The research involved clinical studies conducted in different parts of the world. There were 30 countries, including the United States, China, Iran and Spain. These studies were very different from each other, varying in size, design and methodology. This made it difficult to analyze the results on a global scale, according to Otávio Cabral-Marques, a professor at the USP Faculty of Medicine and coordinator of the study.
One of the challenges of the study was to curate data from all global clinical trials with mesenchymal stem cells so that we could have a complete view of the global scenario of treatment effectiveness.
In order to perform assertive analyses, the researchers had to compile a specialized database on CellTrials.org, with qualitative refinements, such as excluding duplicates and false positives.
Furthermore, the authors also observed differences in the phases of trials in various countries. Strict regulations, especially in Europe, have limited the progression of many studies. 56% of the studies did not reach phase 2, which is where safety, effectiveness, dosages and responses in infected people are determined. The lack of control groups in 31% of the studies was also a problem highlighted by the researchers.
The review not only served to highlight the benefits of cell therapy for COVID-19, but also highlighted the need to improve control of product manufacturing and delivery parameters to ensure comparability between studies.
According to Cabral-Marques, the plans now are to work to make the price of treatment more affordable for the population. Again according to the researcher, who spoke with the Progress in treatments for COVID-19 is steady:
The advances [para o tratamento do Covid-19] were significant and range from the use of antiviral drugs that prevent viral multiplication to monoclonal antibodies.
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Source: Olhar Digital
I’m David Jackson, a professional news writer and author at Run Down Bulletin. I specialize in writing health news stories that offer readers the latest information on medical discoveries, treatments and advancements.