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Evaluation of Stem Cell Therapy as Potential Treatment for COVID-19 Pneumonia

Clinical Trial showing preliminary evidence of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapy for COVID-19 pneumonia patients used biotechnology tools from Fluidigm Corporation.

Innovative biotechnology tools provider, Fluidigm, announced in early April 2020 the use of its Fluidigm® CyTOF® technology for a clinical study to understand key information about potential mechanisms of action for MSC therapy for COVID-19 pneumonia.

The study was conducted by researchers from China and was published on Aging and Disease.

The study, which evaluated clinical outcomes as well as changes in inflammatory and immune function for 14 days in seven patients with COVID-19 pneumonia, indicated that intravenous transplantation of MSCs was a safe and effective treatment for patients with COVID-19 pneumonia, including for those in severe condition.

Pulmonary function and symptoms of these seven patients were significantly improved within two days of MSC transplantation. Three of the patients, including one classified as severe, recovered and were discharged 10 days after treatment.

“We used a 36-marker CyTOF panel to generate a broad immune profile of each patient’s peripheral blood before and after transplantation,” said Wenjing Wang, PhD, Associate Professor at Beijing Hepatology Research Institute, You’an Hospital. “Mass cytometry allowed us to look at all immune populations of interest in a single tube of peripheral blood mononuclear cells, enabling us to use less sample and to simplify our workflow and analysis.”

CyTOF analysis found that MSC treatment of severe cases led to disappearance in three to six days of overactivated cytokine-secreting immune cells and increases in regulatory T and dendritic cells.

“This level of new and valuable treatment research based on broad-based immune profiling is an important front in the COVID-19 fight,” said Chris Linthwaite, President and CEO of Fluidigm. “Fluidigm is actively engaged with many researchers in government and medical institutions who are addressing the COVID-19 pandemic from the perspectives of both immune profiling and virus detection and testing, and this study underscores the critical role that our technologies are playing in the global response to the outbreak.

“In addition to our instruments, our assays and analysis software are increasingly the focus of customers in the global research community exploring immune profiling of COVID-19 infected populations. Our Maxpar® Direct™ Immune Profiling Assay™ and Maxpar Pathsetter™ analysis software is a solution for labs seeking an easily deployed, fixed panel that can incorporate novel exploratory markers as well as standard markers,” Linthwaite said.

“We are inspired by this opportunity to provide meaningful tools in efforts to develop innovative solutions to this rapidly evolving pandemic.” [APBN]