Understanding how allogeneic mesenchymal stromal cells can modify disease severity in Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa (ADSTEM)Completed
|Project lead||Prof. John McGrath|
|Organisation||King’s College London|
|Project budget||GBP 432,496.00|
|Funder(s) / Co-Funder(s)||DEBRA UK, Others|
|Other funder(s)||Funded by Cure EB - formerly known as Sohana Research Fund|
|Research area||Cellular therapy|
Short lay summary
About Mesenchymal Stem Cells
Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) are multipotent cells capable of maturing into a variety of cell types, but they also have anti-inflammatory properties. Intravenous infusion of MSCs, (introducing the cells directly into the person’s blood stream) has shown to benefit patients who have had heart attacks, renal failure, stroke, diabetes, Crohn’s and Parkinson’s disease. However, we do not fully understand how this is achieved. The cells do not become incorporated into the recipient’s tissue – in fact they seem to be removed within days, and disappear harmlessly, but they seem to be stimulating anti-inflammatory responses in the recipient that persist for many days or weeks.
People with Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa (RDEB) have a number of complications closely linked to inflammatory reactions; these include anaemia, bone thinning (osteoporosis), poorly healing wounds, itching, loss of appetite and a general failure to thrive. This group wished to further investigate the anti-inflammatory actions of MSCs in adults with RDEB. Having started an investigation in children, Professor McGrath and team planned to give intravenous MSC infusions to 10 adults with RDEB to examine in detail important markers in the blood and tissues. Their clinical responses (skin blisters, wound healing, itching and pain) were also recorded.
EBSTEM – A Previous Clinical Trial with MSCs
Early results from EBSTEM showed that the infusions appeared safe and may have some beneficial effect in children. An important observation is that individuals can respond differently to MSCs, leading researchers to believe that people may have some factors in their inherent biological make-up that makes them good or poor responders. ADSTEM planned to assess the safety of MSCs in adults. This study was needed because compared with children, scarring in adults with RDEB is often greater and there is an increased risk of skin cancer, so it is important to study the safety profile of intravenous MSCs in older subjects too.
Aims of this project
This project aimed to increase understanding of the inflammatory responses in RDEB, help evaluate whether MSCs have the potential to be a useful therapy, and consolidate how this kind of therapy can be given and aid development of future studies in RDEB.
Professor John McGrath, Principal Investigator for ADSTEM, said “This clinical trial has given us a great opportunity to look at the safety and potential benefits of cell therapy in people with dystrophic EB. We hope these cells will improve wound healing as well as reduce itch and pain, and that in the longer term the trial will lead to positive changes in the way we treat EB in the clinic”