A therapy made from a Covid patient’s own blood is being trialled to treat lung scarring that’s left after hospitalisation.
Doctors at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London have begun a small trial using patients’ white blood cells.
The Monocytes as an Anti-fibrotic treatment after COVID-19 (MONACO) cell therapy study is the world’s first Phase 1 trial for the condition that has advanced to a stage where it has been given to patients.
Early estimates indicate that 2% of all patients who had COVID-19, including those who were not hospitalised, will have suffered a degree of fibrotic lung scarring as a result of the infection. This estimate is even higher in patients who were admitted to intensive care. These statistics indicate that globally over 3.5 million people may have a degree of post COVID-19 lung scarring to date.
Lung scarring causes a significant decline in lung function, a long term debilitating reduction in exercise capacity and reduced quality of life in these patients.
The development of the MONACO Cell Therapy Study and production of the treatment were supported by the world class infrastructure and facilities of the NIHR Guy’s and St Thomas’ Biomedical Research Centre (BRC). The novel cell therapy used in this study was manufactured within the cutting edge facilities, and with the expert support of highly trained staff within the NIHR BRC’s Advanced Therapies Manufacturing platform at Guy’s Hospital.
Five patients with fibrotic lung disease following recovery from COVID-19, were the first people in the world to receive the experimental cell therapy treatment within the NIHR Clinical Research Facility (CRF) at Guy’s Hospital.