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April 8, 2020

Queen’s University Belfast trials cell therapy for coronavirus

Queen’s University Belfast researchers are conducting a clinical trial of a cell therapy to treat acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) associated with Covid-19 coronavirus infection.

Queen’s University Belfast researchers are conducting a clinical trial of a cell therapy to treat acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) associated with Covid-19 (coronavirus) infection.

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The UK-wide study, being led by researchers from the university’s Wellcome-Wolfson Institute for Experimental Medicine, is assessing allogenic mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs).

ARDS is characterised by inflammation and leakage in the lungs, leading to a build-up of fluid. The condition results in respiratory failure and the need for intensive care, along with a ventilator machine.

MSCs are a new therapy option that demonstrated ability to decrease inflammation, combat infection and improve the repair of injured tissue in experimental models.

Named REALIST Covid 19, the trial will administer participants with purified MSCs obtained from umbilical cord tissue called ORBCEL-C, which is developed by Ireland-based Orbsen Therapeutics.

The ORBCEL-C therapy for the trial is produced under licence by the UK NHS Blood and Transplant Service.

REALIST Covid 19 forms part of an ongoing research programme evaluating MSCs for ARDS. The trial is designed to involve around 60 patients at various UK sites and has enrolled its first participant so far.

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) categorised the trial as an urgent public health study.

Orbsen Therapeutics CSO Steve Elliman said: “While there are over 100 vaccines and therapies in development targeting the SARS-CoV-2 infection, at present there are no disease modifying therapies approved for ARDS.

“We’re delighted the REALIST trial was approved and listed by NIHR as an urgent public health research study so we can continue assess the safety of the ORBCEL-C therapy in patients with ARDS.”

The study has funding from the Health and Social Care Research & Development Division and the Wellcome Trust.

It is sponsored by the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, with support from the NI Clinical Trials Unit, the NIHR Clinical Research Network and the Northern Ireland Clinical Research Network.

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COVID-19 has already affected our lives forever. The way we work, shop, eat, seek medical advice, and socialize will all be different in the future. Quite how different remains to be seen, but all industries must plan for multiple eventualities. Are you interested in actionable insights on the business challenges induced by the pandemic? GlobalData's cross-sector report analyzes the significance of this major disruptive theme across industry verticals. It provides side-by-side research of alternative datasets to present you with unique quantitative analysis of the effects of COVID-19 and how these differ across sectors. Additionally, it offers qualitative analysis of each sector and analyzes COVID-19’s impact on leading companies. Whatever your company’s imminent strategic plans, the long-lasting impact of COVID-19 must not be overlooked. Find out how to futureproof your business operations – download our report today.
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