The NIH recently announced that it is reviewing the application of mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment for COVID-19 while a number of clinical trials are underway in various regions of the world including India, China, Turkey, Brazil, as well as here in the United States, namely in Texas.
Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSC)
There are essentially two types of stem cells in the bone marrow: hematopoietic stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells. Hematopoietic stem cells are responsible for the development of all types of blood cells, specifically red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) were believed for a long time to simply support the development of hematopoietic stem cells, but 20 years ago it was discovered that MSC have the ability to transform into almost every cell type of the body. Essentially, MSC were shown to constitute the repair system of the body. Any time you have an injury, it is the role of these stem cells to migrate into the affected tissue and repair what’s broken.
Aside from their role in tissue repair, MSC were also found to have unique anti-inflammatory properties. When a stem cell migrates into a damage tissue, its first action is to suppress inflammation in order to initiate the process of tissue repair. From there, as the affected tissue is being repaired, inflammation further declines. This process has a uniquely remarkable application in the case of COVID. When people suffer from COVID, they don’t suffer from the infection itself, they suffer from the overreaction of their immune system to this novel virus. The overactive immune system secretes a myriad of compounds called cytokines that then generate excessive inflammation, which in turn kills neighboring cells creating further inflammation. This culminates in what has been coined a “cytokine storm”. It is in fact the cytokine storm that is the culprit in all cases of COVID that reaches the ICU… not the virus itself.
Mesenchymal Stem Cells and COVID
Given the anti-inflammatory properties of MSC, a group at the National Health Commission of China hypothesized that injecting MSC could have a significant impact in speeding up the recovery of people with severe COVID symptoms. This group of scientists injected MSC into seven patients and compared the outcome with three placebo-controlled patients. All seven patients who received mesenchymal stem cells recovered. Among the three placebo-treated patients, one died, one developed acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and one remained stable with severe disease. Similar results have been obtained in other studies where injection of MSC either prevented death from COVID or reduced symptoms associated with a COVID infection.
In fact, the action of MSC in COVID is dual: on one hand MSC thwart the cytokine storm and thereby prevent damage to the lungs, on the other hand MSC accelerate the repair of any existing damage to the lungs, speeding up recovery. This dual action is probably what explains how fast patients recovers after receiving MSC.
Stem Cell Supplements
In the same line of thought, supplements documented to support the release of MSC from the bone marrow, thereby increasing the number of circulating stem cells, have also been reported empirically to reduce the severity of COVID symptoms and help people recover more rapidly. One such product was featured on Fox News Turkey after a pulmonologist who himself suffered from severe COVID returned home within a few days of taking the stem cell supplement, all this after having spent more than a week in ICU. “We know that the problem with COVID is not the virus, but the immune system’s reaction to the virus. When stem cells are release, they go directly to the damaged area and the first they do is to prevent the cytokine storm, and then they repair the tissue. Stem cell supplements allow you to use your own stem cells,” says Christian Drapeau, who is part of the team studying Stemregen in Turkey.
Stemregen is a blend of botanical extracts that have been documented to support the release of stem cells from the bone marrow, increasing the number of circulating stem cells within 2 hours after consumption. These stem cells, which constitute the repair system of the body, then travel throughout the blood in search of tissue in need of repair. While Stemregen has been developed to support tissue repair and renewal,
support of immune function is another significant benefit of taking stem cell supplements daily.