First Covid-19 patient in Texas enrolled in UTHealth stem cell therapy study at Memorial Hermann

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Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston started a clinical trial on patients with Covid-19. They completed the first procedure on April 16 using stem cell therapy. The study is a Phase II randomized trial that injects mesenchymal stem cells derived from bone marrow.

Dr. Laura Moore is an investigator at the Texas site as well as a professor in the Department of Surgery in McGovern Medical School. She provided her insight on this study: “Mesenchymal stem cells have the ability to modulate the inflammatory response that plays a key role in the development of ARDS. This makes them a very promising therapy for treating patients with the severe respiratory failure we are seeing in COVID-19 patients”.

Moreover, Dr. Beta Patel is the University Chair and vice dean to the McGovern Medical School. “Patients with ARDS from COVID-19 have a mortality rate up to 60%,” said Dr. Bela Patel.

 “Since stem cell therapy may modulate the hyperinflammatory response to SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, this important study represents a promising potential therapy for improving outcomes in ARDS patients including those with COVID-19 ARDS.”

In fact, researchers randomize patients so that they may receive either the hMSC’s or a placebo. Besides, the trial will include 120 patients from across the country at multiple sites.  Dr. Michael Matthay, at the University of California-San Francisco, will lead the study. Scientists prepare the hMSC’s at the Evelyn H. Griffin Stem Cell Therapeutics Research Laboratory at McGovern Medical School.

Furthermore, Dr. Charles S. Cox Jr., is Distinguished Chair in Neurosciences, director of the Program in Children’s Regenerative Medicine at McGovern Medical School, and director of the Pediatric Trauma Program at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.

In addition, Dr. Cox is a faculty member of MD Anderson Cancer Center UTHealth Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. He pioneered many studies in stem cell therapy at UTHealth. Finally, this latest trial is a continuation of his research.