Baptist Health Doctors Announce Successful Treatment of Wuhan Virus Patients with Stem Cells

RESTEM, a biotechnology company, and Baptist Health South Florida announced on April 29, 2020 that three Wuhan virus patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are the first to receive successful treatment in the U.S. with umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave them emergency approval to conduct this treatment.

Baptist Health physicians, Guenther Koehne, M.D., Ph.D., and Javier Pérez-Fernández, M.D., safely applied the new treatment to patients via intravenous infusions of RESTEM’s experimental umbilical cord lining-derived stem cells (ULSC).

The recipients of this treatment demonstrated a reduction of their oxygen requirement from 100% to less than 50% within days of receiving the infusion. In addition, they also witnessed a significant fall in levels of various crucial circulating inflammatory markers.

“The remarkable ability for these cells to mitigate inflammatory processes holds great promise for COVID-19 patients as well as for people with many other illnesses,” stated Guenther Koehne, MD, PhD, deputy director and chief of blood & marrow transplant at the Miami Cancer Institute. “These patients have improved their lung status much more quickly than patients treated with other experimental therapies,” continued Dr. Koehne.

“Our preliminary results show that therapy with these cells could be a game-changer in COVID-19,” proclaimed Dr. Javier Perez-Fernandez, pulmonologist and director of critical care at Baptist Hospital of Miami.

Baptist Health South Florida highlighted the following:

RESTEM’s cells are grown from umbilical cord tissue by a proprietary process and reduce inflammation, thereby allowing tissue regeneration and healing to occur.

Rafael Gonzalez, PhD, Senior Vice-president of Research and Development at RESTEM, declared “we are extremely excited with these preliminary results. The SUCCESS (Systemic Umbilical Cord Cells to Erase Syndrome Severity) Trial will identify COVID-19 ARDS patients that may best benefit from ULSC and will develop randomized placebo-controlled evidence regarding the ability of these cells to heal patients with this terrible disease.”

The FDA approved the RESTEM ULSC for testing their healing attributes in the autoimmune conditions of Polymyositis and Dermatomyositis. Additionally, patients will be able to participate in this clinical trial both at the Miami Cancer Institute and at Sanford Health in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.