【Major Advancements in Stem Cells】 Ronaldo and Nadal Extend Careers with Stem Cell Therapy, Emerging as a Medical Breakthrough

As the global COVID-19 pandemic wreaks havoc, with over 240 million infected and more than 4.8 million confirmed deaths, the University of Miami collaborated with Jackson Memorial Hospital last year on a groundbreaking study using stem cell therapy to treat severe cases of COVID-19. The results were astonishing, with a survival rate of 91% among patients who received stem cell treatment one month after injection.

The unexpected impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred significant developments in the global biotechnology industry, particularly in the field of new drugs.

In the past, public perception of stem cells was primarily associated with "umbilical cord blood storage." In recent years, there has been increasing media coverage of political and business figures, as well as female celebrities, enthusiastically utilizing stem cell therapy for anti-aging and rejuvenation. One notable example is the late Macau tycoon Stanley Ho, who relied on stem cell injections as a secret weapon in his anti-aging regimen.

Stem cell therapy, catering not only to the desires of political and business elites and celebrities for "eternal youth" but also widely used in the treatment of spinal cord injuries and tendon damage caused by sports and accidents. Renowned athletes such as F1 driver Michael Schumacher, football star Cristiano Ronaldo, tennis ace Rafael Nadal, and the late NBA legend Kobe Bryant have all been reported to use stem cell therapy to rejuvenate and extend their professional careers.

In 2018, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare conditionally approved the use of "mesenchymal stem cells" technology to treat patients with spinal cord injuries. Today, the application of stem cells goes beyond rejuvenation and neural repair, advancing into the field of new drugs. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 last year, clinical experiments abroad have revealed astonishing effects of cell therapy, mainly using stem cells, in treating COVID-19. This has not only brought significant attention to cell therapy but also prompted countries worldwide to actively invest, turning it into a medical breakthrough and driving rapid growth in the global cell therapy market.

As the COVID-19 pandemic ravages the world, with over 240 million infections and more than 4.8 million confirmed deaths, the University of Miami, in collaboration with Jackson Memorial Hospital, conducted a study on a new stem cell drug for severe cases of COVID-19. The results were uplifting.

Led by Dr. Camillo Ricordi, the team conducted a clinical trial using umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells on 24 severe COVID-19 patients, aiming to prevent lung inflammation caused by the coronavirus. The survival rate of patients in the treatment group who received stem cell injections after one month was as high as 91% (100% for patients under 85 years old), while the control group's survival rate was only 42%.

This clinical result not only shows promise in the treatment of severe COVID-19 but also represents a significant breakthrough and progress for the burgeoning stem cell industry.

Currently, there are many clinical studies worldwide using mesenchymal stem cells to treat ARDS and various lung injuries caused by the novel coronavirus. According to the Industry, Technology, and Innovation Study (ITIS) research team of the Development Center for Biotechnology (DCB), 73 products globally have entered or are in the application stage of clinical trials, with eight products reaching the third phase of clinical trials.

Wang Yiting, a senior industry analyst of the ITIS research team at the Industry Development Center (DCB), pointed out that, among stem cell therapies related to COVID-19, remestemcel-L from Australian cell therapy company Mesoblast is one of the fastest progressing products. Biotech giant Novartis even signed a $1.35 billion cooperation agreement with Mesoblast to jointly initiate a phase III clinical trial for ARDS treatment in COVID-19 patients.

COVID-19 has become a springboard for new stem cell drugs. If Taiwan passes the Regenerative Medicine Development Act by the end of the year, it will be a favorable wind for industry players who have been cultivating the field for years, indicating a promising future for the stem cell drug industry.

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