Dr. Duncan Stewart, FRCPC, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Driving towards a novel treatment for COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grip the world, uncertainty about the future persists for Canadians. The good news is that Canadian scientists are fully engaged in addressing COVID-19 by developing an innovative cell-based treatment.  Dr. Duncan Stewart from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and his experienced research team have been funded by the Stem Cell Network and the Province of Ontario to conduct a clinical trial, entitled CIRCA-19. The CIRCA-19 trial will administer a specialized cell product for critically ill patients, with the goal of tampering down the aggressive inflammatory response that prevents the transfer of oxygen to the blood and damages the lungs. Recent research demonstrated that of seven patients given a similar cell product, lung function and symptoms improved significantly after 48 hours. The CIRCA-19 trial will look to confirm the safety and efficacy of this potential treatment. The trial will take place in three stages and enrol up to 27 patients from Ottawa and Toronto.

SCN was the first to support this clinical trial, awarding $300K in April 2020. Not only is this support key, but so too are previous research investments made by SCN. More than $2M has been previously invested by the Stem Cell Network in research that confirmed the safety of the cell product being used, and developing a partnership with the Center for Regenerative Therapies in Germany who are providing specialized cells required for the CIRCA-19.

To learn more about Stem Cells in the Fight Against COVID-19 click here.