ARDS is an inflammatory process leading to build-up of fluid in the lungs and respiratory failure. It can occur due to infection, trauma and inhalation of noxious substances. ARDS often affects previously healthy individuals. It accounts for approximately 10% of all ICU admissions and almost 25% of patients requiring mechanical ventilation. Survivors of ARDS are often left with severe long term illness and disability.
Cynata commenced a collaboration with a world leading, multi-centre research team, Critical Care Research Group (CCRG), to investigate its Cymerus™ MSCs as a treatment for ARDS, in combination with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). ECMO circulates blood through an artificial lung, oxygenating the blood before putting it back into the bloodstream of a patient. ECMO has emerged as a valuable treatment adjunct to support the vital organs in patients with severe ARDS, which can provide short-to-medium term mechanical pulmonary support. However, ECMO is not in itself a treatment for ARDS, and the mortality among patients supported by it remains high.
MSC therapy could be used as a possible treatment for ARDS due to the ability of MSCs to reduce inflammation, enhance clearance of pathogens and stimulate tissue repair.
The study will seek to determine if Cymerus MSC treatment improves oxygenation in sheep with ARDS supported by ECMO, and to evaluate the effects on lung mechanics, blood flow, inflammation and lung injury, as well as safety.
If the study is successful, it is anticipated that the data would support progression to a clinical trial of Cymerus MSCs in humans with ARDS undergoing ECMO support.
The study is being funded by the Queensland State Government, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), the Intensive Care Society UK, and the Prince Charles Hospital Foundation.