Dr. Chris Rogers and his team at San Diego Orthobiologics Medical Group in collaboration with Personalized Stem Cells (PSC), Inc. conduct stem cell research at their clinic in Carlsbad, California. As medical director and principal investigator for these FDA approved clinical trials, Dr. Rogers realizes the potential that stem cell therapy may have for COVID-19 patients.
Currently, Personalized Stem Cells, Inc. is awaiting FDA approval to start a new clinical trial in COVID-19 patients. Recently, they were asked by the White House Task Force to apply for an expedited FDA review of their application to treat COVID-19 patients with stem cells. In preclinical trials, stem cells have been shown to improve the lung damage and inflammation caused by viral pneumonia.
Conducting COVID-19 Stem Cell Research
Doctors based in China and Israel published positive outcomes following their stem cell treatments. Israeli doctors announced that seven patients with COVID-19 experienced 100% recovery following stem cell treatment. PSC has collaborators in Wuhan and Beijing, where similar results have been reported.
To expedite the mass production of stem cells, PSC teamed up with Calidi Biotherapeutics, a San Diego based company which provided the pre-tested master cell line. These cells facilitated fast and efficient manufacturing of more stem cells, which will allow patients to receive treatment more quickly.
Pending FDA approval, the first clinical trial will be held in San Diego in a few weeks. PSC will apply for compassionate use approval for national and international use as well. Compassionate use is a way for patients who are not eligible for clinical trials to receive treatment. These patients have serious or life-threatening illnesses for which other treatments are not available.
In the last two decades, advancements in stem cell research and technology have soared. These revolutionary advances hold a great deal of promise for patients who may suffer from a variety of medical conditions.
What are Stem Cells?
Stem cells have the unique ability to turn into many different types of cells, such as a muscle cell, a tendon cell or a cartilage cell. This process is called “differentiation”. Stem cells also function as part of a repair system that maintains and replenishes cells throughout your entire life. They achieve this by decreasing inflammation, protecting injured cells and stimulating other cells to regenerate. There are many different kinds of stem cells, each with their own specific abilities.
Embryonic stem cells are derived from embryos and have been used for research purposes in the past. They can differentiate into any one of the more than 200 cells in the body. They are only available for the treatment of patients in clinical studies.
Adult stem cells are undifferentiated cells that have a more specific ability to differentiate. There are several different types of these cells and they can replenish certain cells depending upon the specific tissue in which they live. In 1991, a unique population of adult stem cells called the Mesenchymal Stem Cell (MSC) was discovered. The MSC was noted to have an active role in connective tissue repair and the capacity to differentiate into bone, cartilage, and tendon cells.
Since then, significant progress has been made to offer safe and effective treatments using MSCs to heal injured or inflamed tissues. The most studied sources of the MSCs include a patient’s own bone marrow or adipose tissue which contain a heterogenous mixture of reparative cells.
How Can They Be Used?
Stem cell research and technology has evolved to offer many potential medical uses due to their self-renewing qualities and the ability to stimulate tissue healing. Researchers have found stem cells useful for:
● The Study of Disease Processes: Stem cells help scientists understand how diseases occur. Watching and studying stem cells as they mature into their differentiated state helps doctors understand certain diseases and how disease conditions develop.
● Drug Development: Stem cells are used to test drugs for safety and quality. Studying the effectiveness of medications on human stem cells determines their efficacy and toxicity. Stem cells can be “turned into” specific types of cells and then drugs can be tested to see how they work on those specific cells.
● Regenerative Medicine: The body’s natural ability to heal itself is harnessed by stimulating the repair of damaged, diseased or injured tissue using stem cells. Stem cells, directed to differentiate into specific cell types, offer the possibility of a renewable source of replacement cells to treat many common diseases.
Which Orthopedic Conditions have been treated with Stem Cell Therapy?
Several orthopedic conditions have been treated with stem cell therapy. High quality clinical trials have been published regarding the treatment of:
- osteoarthritis in the knee, hip or shoulder
- rotator cuff tendon tears
- achilles tendinopathy
- partial anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears
- non-healing bone injuries
- lumbar disc degeneration and low back pain
For more information, published scientific studies can be found at: