COVID-19 - Coronavirus disease 2019

Umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stromal cells therapy in SARS-CoV-2-related ARDS – STROMA-CoV2

Submission summary

Whereas the pandemic due do Covid-19 continues to spread, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes Severe Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome in 30% of patients with a 30%-60% mortality rate for those requiring hospitalization in an intensive care unit. The main physio-pathological hallmark is an acute pulmonary inflammation. Currently, there is no treatment.

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) feature several attractive characteristics: ease of procurement, high proliferation potential, capacity to home to inflammatory sites, anti-inflammatory, anti-fibrotic and immunomodulatory properties. If all MSC share several characteristics regardless of the tissue source, the highest productions of bioactive molecules and the strongest immunomodulatory properties are yielded by those from the Wharton’s jelly of the umbilical cord. An additional advantage is that they can be scaled-up to generate banks of cryofrozen and thus readily available products. These cells have already been tested in several clinical trials with an excellent safety record.

The objective of this project is to treat intubated-ventilated patients presenting with a SARS-CoV2-related Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) of less than 96 hours by three intravenous infusions of umbilical cord Wharton’s jelly-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (UC-MSC) one every other day (duration of the treatment: one week). The primary endpoint is the PaO2/FiO2 ratio at day 7. The evolution of several inflammatory markers, T regulatory lymphocytes and donor-specific antibodies will also be monitored. The trial will include 60 patients, of whom 20 will be cell-treated while the remaining 40 patients will be injected with a placebo solution in addition to the standard of care. Given the pathophysiology of SARS-CoV2, it is thus sound to hypothesize that the intravenous administration of UC-MSC during the initial phase of ARDS could control inflammation, accelerate its recovery with improved oxygenation, reduced mechanical ventilation and ventilation weaning time and therefore reduced length of stay in intensive care.

The feasibility of the project is supported by the expertise of the Méary Cell and Gene Therapy Center, which is approved for the production of Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products and has already successfully prepared the first batches of cells, as well as by the involvement of a cardiac surgery team which will leverage its experience with stem cells for the treatment of heart failure to make it relevant to the Stroma-Cov-2 project.

Project coordination

ANTOINE MONSEL (DMU APHP.Sorbonne : Département Réanimation Anesthésie Médecine Péri-Opératoire)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


DMU DREAM DMU APHP.Sorbonne : Département Réanimation Anesthésie Médecine Péri-Opératoire

Help of the ANR 199,963 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: March 2020 - 6 Months

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