San Diego, California - Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) made history August 9 when dermatologists performed their first allogeneic mesenchymal stem cell infusion on a patient -- the first ever performed at a U.S. military treatment facility.
Cmdr. John Trafeli, division head for Dermatology Research and head of Training and Research for Project C.A.R.E. (Comprehensive Advanced Restorative Effort) at NMCSD, led the procedure designed to address skin damage. The first patient enrolled in the study is a retired Navy veteran with skin damage resulting from years of exposure to the sun.
The procedure marked the beginning of a stem cell clinical trial at NMCSD that Navy physicians believe could lead to greater possibilities in using regenerative medicine for patients for a variety of conditions such as traumatic brain injuries, musculocutaneous injury, and even dental disease.
"I believe there's an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those warfighters affected not only by skin issues, but by other conditions like traumatic brain injuries," said Trafeli. "This clinical trial could well be the precursor to greater possibilities and greater healing for those warfighters facing such challenges."
The infusions involve the venous injection of allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which are derived from the bone marrow of non-fetal human tissue provided by an adult donor other than the patient. The cell type NMCSD chose is unique because they are grown under hypoxic conditions at 5 percent oxygen, and are therefore designated ischemia-tolerant MSCs (itMSCs). The itMSCs secrete a unique profile of stem cell factors and other important proteins, which preclinical data indicates may contribute to improved homing and engraftment of the cells compared to MSCs grown under higher oxygen concentrations.
The clinical trial is the result of a collaborative research and development agreement between NMCSD and StemCutis LLC. The itMSCs are manufactured by a government-licensed current good manufacturing practices (cGMP) facility in California and are under exclusive license to StemCutis for skin conditions.
The trial was launched just over a month prior to the upcoming 2016 Project C.A.R.E. Summit, scheduled Sept. 7-9 at NMCSD, where renowned experts in various disciplines will provide insights into cutting edge breakthroughs in restorative and regenerative medicine throughout the military and private sector medical communities.
For more information about the Project C.A.R.E. Summit and attendance, visit the Project C.A.R.E. Website or call (619) 532-7110.