COVID-19 Patient With Acute Respiratory Distress Cured by Cancer Drug

Andreas Neubauer

Marburg oncologist Professor Dr. Andreas Neubauer initiated the use of a cancer drug in a COVID-19 patient. Credit: Torsten Fricke / German José Carreras Leukemia Foundation

Team at Marburg University Medical Center plans scientific study on the use of an immune inhibitor against the viral disease.

Although the spreading SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus usually causes only mild respiratory symptoms, the COVID-19 disease progresses so severely in around five percent of those affected that acute respiratory distress can occur. “The mortality rate in these cases is high,” says Dr. Thomas Wiesmann, who attended the patient along with the intensive care team in the Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care at Marburg University Hospital.

The patient is a 65-year-old woman without pre-existing conditions who was admitted to the hospital for progressive shortness of breath and fever. Her shortness of breath worsened so rapidly that she had to be intubated to receive artificial ventilation three hours after admission. A standard molecular genetic test confirmed she was infected with SARS-CoV-2. The patient’s overall prognosis was assessed as very poor due to extensive organ damage.

“We knew from Chinese publications that patients with a severe and even fatal course of the disease are characterized by a so-called cytokine storm,” Neubauer says. “During a cytokine storm, the body is flooded with substances that stimulate the immune system.” This overreaction of the body’s own defense system damages the tissue — making it all the easier for the invading virus to spread.

Neubauer suspected that the patient might respond to ruxolitinib, a drug originally used in cancer treatment. It inhibits enzymes in the body involved in excessive inflammatory reactions. “We suggested to our colleagues who were treating the patients that the cancer drug might be able to prevent the life-threatening effects brought on by the inflammatory damage to lung tissue,” Neubauer says.

“We were faced with a difficult decision,” adds Professor Dr. Hinnerk Wulf, Director of the Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care. “It was uncertain whether the theory would also work in practice; after all, the experimental treatment was also associated with a risk.” In fact, the condition of the Marburg University Medicine patient did improve after she received ruxolitinib. The treatment team noted clinical stabilization as well as rapid improvement in respiration and heart function.

“This course of treatment was remarkable compared to that in other patients,” Wiesmann emphasizes. The patient was gradually weaned from the ventilator starting on the tenth day of her hospital stay. Virus replication was also reduced during the administration of the cancer drug.

Apparently, the success of the treatment was not an isolated case. The team in Marburg also administered the cancer drug to several other patients to control a severe course of the disease. “It turned out well in the end for all patients who received the cancer drug for longer than one week,” Neubauer explains. A team lead by Professor Dr. Paul Graf La Rosée at Schwarzwald-Baar Hospital has also reported the successful use of the immune inhibitor, although in less severe cases.

“The time between onset of ruxolitinib administration and improvement of health is so short that it is reasonable to assume that the drug ruxolitinib contributed to the favorable clinical course,” Neubauer explains. Based on the success of the treatment, the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices has approved a clinical trial that will test the effect of the administration of ruxolitinib in additional COVID-19 patients.

Professor Dr. Andreas Neubauer teaches hematology and oncology at the University of Marburg. Since 2009, he has headed the Carreras Leukemia Center at Marburg University Hospital.

In addition to his team and the Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, numerous other scientists in the Department of Internal Medicine, the Institutes of Laboratory Medicine and Virology, the Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology in Marburg as well as the Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care Medicine at Clinical Center Kassel, also contributed to the publication. The German José Carreras Leukemia Foundation provided financial support for the research work.

Reference: “Ruxolitinib for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 induced acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)” by Andreas Neubauer, Thomas Wiesmann, Claus F. Vogelmeier, Elisabeth Mack, Chrysanthi Skevaki, Christine Gaik, Christian Keller, Jens Figiel, Kristina Sohlbach, Caroline Rolfes, Harald Renz, Hinnerk Wulf and Andreas Burchert, 17 June 2020, Leukemia.
DOI: 10.1038/s41375-020-0907-9

27 Comments on "COVID-19 Patient With Acute Respiratory Distress Cured by Cancer Drug"

  1. is this true in latest world news

  2. Business News Cryptocurrency News Finance Country updates country ask daily country news u.s. news latest latest uk news headlines for today uk news now europe news now u.s news mail us news mail today u.s. news mail economy
    Business News

  3. | December 21, 2020 at 9:45 pm | Reply

    daily us news daily us news

  4. veritynewsera veritynewsera

  5. reliablenewspost | January 11, 2021 at 7:55 pm | Reply

    reliablenewspost reliablenewspost

  6. crediblenewspost | January 11, 2021 at 7:56 pm | Reply

    crediblenewspost crediblenewspost

  7. thesportsdailylive | March 30, 2021 at 2:15 am | Reply

    The Sports Daily Live Stream Online HDTV. On this website, The Sports Daily you will regularly see all kinds of sports in the world.

  8. Buy Etizolam online is a piece of lasting contribution to our site. It is extremely easy to put in a request and get your shipment of Etizolam directly to your entryway, regardless of where you miss living.

  9. thesportsdailylive | April 14, 2021 at 3:56 pm | Reply

    Big Sports Live Stream Online HD TV. On this website, BigSportsLive you will regularly see all kinds of sports in the world.

  10. a global existence and operating in USA, UK, Asia, and Australia. We are serving our clients all over the globe.

  11. Best Website for Watching colors TV shows is Bigg Boss 15 Live

  12. Very good points you wrote here..Great stuff

  13. The printer helps you with full support on printing the wanted report with ultra-quality resolution. It is carried out by the supportive sense of characteristics from fax, copy, scan, and print respectively. It is becoming the purpose of and actions.

  14. Thanks for all your information, Website is very nice and informative content. private security san diego

  15. Can I also share this amazing news with my friends on hotmail email?

  16. I wanted to get more details on the above mentioned topic.

  17. Life was beautiful before covid-19, but now many things are different. Yesterday i read on that they are trying to cure it with other medicines, Do you have any info about it?


  18. Fantasy cricket app | January 15, 2022 at 4:04 am | Reply

    fantasy cricket app Cricket Fantasy League with Best play Fantasy Cricket App Play Cricket earn Money. Download App to know more Play and win Exclusive Prizes & Experiences only with Fantasy Power 11.Instant Paytm Withdrawal Fantasy Power 11.

  19. Link Alternatif Bonanza138 | January 24, 2022 at 12:08 pm | Reply

    Berikut ini adalah Link ALternatif Bonanza138 yang menyediakan permainan judi slot online terlengkap dan terpercaya 2021.

  20. Linksys extender login | January 6, 2024 at 12:58 am | Reply

    Experience the satisfaction of a well-connected home or office as you test your Wi-Fi network, connecting devices and reveling in the newfound signal strength. The Linksys Extender Setup is your gateway to a world of expanded connectivity, where setting up and optimizing your network is as effortless as enjoying its benefits.
    Linksys Router default Login page

Leave a comment

Email address is optional. If provided, your email will not be published or shared.