CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital is leading exploration of a new treatment for Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a rare after-effect of COVID-19 in some children.
The excessive immune reaction causes organs to become dangerously inflamed, temperature to spike, and the body to effectively shut down while fighting against itself.
Children with MIS-C often experience “a rash, bloodshot eyes, swollen lymph nodes, and a bright red, bumpy tongue,” as well as “a fever, extreme fatigue, stomach pain, committing, and diarrhea.” according to Helen Adams of MUSC, who first reported this story.
The standard treatment for MIS-C, is “high-dose steroids, intravenous immunoglobulins, and high-dose aspirin to try to help calm…[the] immune system,” as well as “medicine to help [the] heart and blood vessels work better and a blood thinner to help prevent clots.”
In a recent patient, four-year-old K.J. Griffin of Smoaks, SC, doctors tried all the usual treatments, as well as a new treatment: remestemcel-L, or Ryoncil.
Remestemcel-L was originally developed for use in stem-cell transplant patients. It “uses mesenchymal stromal cells from the bone marrow of healthy donors…to help regulate the immune systems of children with MIS-C and repair damaged tissue.”
While K.J.’s condition was improving with traditional treatments, the remestemcel-L seemed to boost the healing process:
“He had very abnormal heart function. But the day of his discharge, his heart function had not only improved, but was better than normal.”Dr. Andrew Atz, chairman of pediatrics at MUSC
Dr. Allison Eckard, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at MUSC who is leading the trail, said that she believes “this product has a potential large impact on MIS-C and even Kawasaki [a similar disease] in children.” Dr. Atz agreed, saying it “shows very good promise.”
While physicians are optimistic about the possibilities of the treatment, they say it is too early to consider it a “go-to.” Dr. Atz cautioned that testing the treatment and ensuring safety and efficacy are crucial.