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Combined meta-analysis of preclinical cell therapy studies shows overlapping effect modifiers for multiple diseases


Zwetsloot, PP and Antonic-Baker, A and Gremmels, H and Wever, K and Sena, C and Jansen of Lorkeers, S and Chamuleau, S and Sluijter, J and Howells, DW, Combined meta-analysis of preclinical cell therapy studies shows overlapping effect modifiers for multiple diseases, BMJ Open Science, 5, (1) pp. 1-15. ISSN 2398-8703 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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© Author(s) (or their employer(s). his is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC BY 4.0) license, ( which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made.

DOI: doi:10.1136/bmjos-2020-100061


Introduction: Cell therapy has been studied in many different research domains. Cellular replacement of damaged solid tissues is at an early stage of development, with much still to be understood. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses are widely used to aggregate data and find important patterns of results within research domains.

We set out to find common biological denominators affecting efficacy in preclinical cell therapy studies for renal, neurological and cardiac disease.

Methods: We used datasets of five previously published meta-analyses investigating cell therapy in preclinical models of chronic kidney disease, spinal cord injury, stroke and ischaemic heart disease. We transformed primary outcomes to ratios of means to permit direct comparison across disease areas. Prespecified variables of interest were species, immunosuppression, cell type, cell origin, dose, delivery and timing of the cell therapy.

Results:The five datasets from 506 publications yielded data from 13 638 animals. Animal size affects therapeutic efficacy in an inverse manner. Cell type influenced efficacy in multiple datasets differently, with no clear trend for specific cell types being superior. Immunosuppression showed a negative effect in spinal cord injury and a positive effect in cardiac ischaemic models. There was a dose–dependent relationship across the different models. Pretreatment seems to be superior compared with administration after the onset of disease.

Conclusions: Preclinical cell therapy studies are affected by multiple variables, including species, immunosuppression, dose and treatment timing. These data are important when designing preclinical studies before commencing clinical trials.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Neurosciences
Research Field:Neurology and neuromuscular diseases
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Treatment of human diseases and conditions
UTAS Author:Howells, DW (Professor David Howells)
ID Code:146802
Year Published:2021
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2021-09-28
Last Modified:2022-08-23
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