The Coronavirus Pandemic: A Pitfall or a Fast Track for Validating Cell Therapy Products?

Maroun Khoury, Laertis Ikonomou, Massimo Dominici, Katarina LeBlanc, Bruce L. Levine, Daniel J. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The global COVID-19 pandemic has prompted urgent need for potential therapies for severe respiratory consequences resulting from coronavirus infection. New therapeutic agents that will attenuate ongoing inflammation and at the same time promote regeneration of injured lung epithelial cells are urgently needed. Cell-based therapies, primarily involving mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) and their derivatives, are currently investigated worldwide for SARS-CoV-2-induced lung diseases. A significant number of academic centers and companies globally have already initiated such trials. However, at a time of unprecedented need, it is also foreseen that families and caregivers will seek all available options, including access to cell-based and other investigational products, even before proven safety and efficacy as well as regulatory approval. This should not be an excuse for opportunists to sell or advertise unproven therapies of any kind. "Compassionate use" should be conducted in the context of a clinical investigation framed by strict ethical and regulatory permissions, with the goal of obtaining mechanistic information wherever possible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-127
Number of pages9
JournalStem Cells and Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2021


  • cell therapy
  • covid-19
  • exosome
  • extracellular vesicles
  • mesenchymal stromal cells
  • MSC

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