Cartesian begins trial of RNA-based cell therapy for COVID-19

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

September 1, 2020 -- Cartesian Therapeutics has initiated a phase I/II clinical trial for the use of its Descartes-30 lead RNA-engineered mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) therapy in patients with moderate-to-severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), including ARDS caused by COVID-19.

An allogeneic MSC product, Descartes-30 creates a combination of DNases to eliminate large amounts of neutrophil extracellular traps -- drivers of inflammation and clotting in ARDS -- within minutes, according to the company. It's engineered with Cartesian's RNA Armory cell therapy platform.

Expected to begin in September, the phase I/II study will enroll patients with moderate-to-severe ARDS at multiple critical care units in the U.S.; patients with ARDS caused by COVID-19 will be given enrollment priority, according to Cartesian. The firm said it aims to enroll approximately 20 patients prior to initiation of a larger study.

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