What the U.S. needs to do to provide compassionate care in hard times to combat serious illness of COVID-19 epidemic: Expanded Mesenchymal Stem Cells may offer hope

COVID-19 has affected the United States leading it to a national emergency with health care and economic impact, propelling the country into a recession with disrupted lifestyles never seen before in recent history. COVID-19 is a serious illness leading to multiple deaths in the United States. The article in JAMA from Arentz et al published the picture of COVID-19 in the United States serious illness which is not pretty. The mortality looked similar to other countries with some additional issues. A small proportion of patients develop serious illness leading to septic shock and multiple organ dysfunction syndromes. The presently approved treatments are supportive, but not curative for the disease. Dr. Manchikanti one of the authors of the manuscript stated that, “The cure of COVID-19 is essentially dependent on the patient’s own immune system.” In coronavirus infection, the immune system is over activated as the body attempts to kill the virus, which in fact leads to the production of large number of inflammatory factors. This results in a severe cytokine storm like a tornado. This induces organ damage, starting with changes in air exchange, leading to acute respiratory distress syndrome, followed by cardiac injury and eventually multi-system organ failure and death.

Dr. Manchikanti also stated that “countries are facing extraordinary circumstances.” The article by Atluri, Manchikanti, and Hirsch to be published in Evolutionary Therapeutic Strategy section of Pain Physician, deals exactly with this problem and shows a potential solution with infusion of expanded umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells. Authors are requesting the President and Coronavirus Task Force to take a 3-pronged approach and provide on a specific and limited basis for permission to give patients expanded umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells by minimizing regulatory burden and instituting appropriate safeguard to avoid negative consequences from unscrupulous actors. Dr. Manchikanti stated that, even though there is very limited evidence, the evidence is emerging and what is shown in these Chinese reports is very encouraging.

The manuscript is in press in the Pain Physician. Click on the following links for more.

Abstract | Manuscript | Fact Sheet

For further information, please see the manuscript, Expanded Umbilical Cord Mesenchymal Stem Cells (UC-MSCs) as a Therapeutic Strategy in Managing Critically Ill COVID-19 Patients: The Case for Compassionate Use by authors Sairam Atluri, MD; Laxmaiah Manchikanti, MD, and Joshua A. Hirsch, MD.

Any inquiries need to be directed to one of the following:

Laxmaiah Manchikanti, MD, at drm@asipp.org

Sairam Atluri at saiatluri@gmail.com

Ray Lane at rlane@asipp.org