Cytokind, Inc. Announces Opening of the Adaptive Photo- Protection Clinical Trial for COVID-19 Patients
May 25, 2021 – Exeter, NH – Cytokind, Inc. (“Cytokind” or “company”) is announcing the initiation of the Adaptive Photo-Protection Trial, for the treatment of phototherapy for hospitalized COVID-19 patients, in collaboration with Louisiana State University Health Center and West Jefferson Medical Center (WJMC), Marrero, LA. Levels of vitamin D at the time of hospitalization are the number one predictor of COVID-19 outcomes. Our bodies normally produce our own vitamin D when ultraviolet light from the sun, UV-B, reaches our skin.
Unfortunately, taking oral vitamin D supplements raises vitamin D in the blood but has not consistently improved outcomes. The Photo-Protection Trial moves upstream of simple oral supplements. By providing phototherapy to the bedside, this trial will engage the body’s naturally evolved photo-immune pathway to produce its own vitamin D – as well as the additional dozens of other biomarkers and cytokines. The trial will test whether phototherapy and this full photo-immune cascade can help these patients help themselves. Phototherapy, the delivery of narrowband ultraviolet B-Band (NB-UVB), has been effectively used in the treatment to calm overreactive immune disorders for decades in chronic diseases such as psoriasis, and acute diseases, in the setting of Graft versus Host Disease in bone marrow transplant patients.
Dr. Frank Lau, Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery and Principal Investigator of a tissue engineering lab, and WJMC Chief Medical Officer Robert Chugden, MD are the Co-Principal Investigators of this trial.
“This is a combination of our academic mission at LSUHC, clinical need and industry collaboration to advance the field of medicine.” – Frank Lau, MD, FACS
The Photo-Protection Trial protocol is sponsored by a team of biodesigners and clinicians, led by entrepreneur John MacMahon, cancer immunology expert Ben Wang, Ph.D., and phototherapy specialist Carmen Castilla, MD. Together with LSU, this collaboration will test whether this safe and effective treatment known to improve survival in bone marrow transplant patients can do the same for high-risk COVID-19 patients.
“We believe one aspect that is putting these patients at risk is their undernourished immune system. Feeding the body NB-UVB light has shown to be safe and effective in other diseases. Once properly fed, the patient’s own immune system often stabilizes with solid results.” – John MacMahon, Co-Founder of Cytokind.
When Dr. Lau and Dr. Robert Chugden, Chief Medical Officer of the WJMC, recruited Dr. Andrew DiNardo, of the Baylor School of Medicine-Infectious Disease lab, all the pieces were in place to treat phototherapy with the same OMICs based-rigor Baylor applies to new cancer drugs. West Jefferson is the first of up to 10 national sites. This trial is an example of LSU’s commitment to be a hub for basic research and clinical innovation in the fight against COVID-19 and beyond.