Cytokine Storm in Covid-19 Patients: Possible Solutions

Photo Credit: Dr. Randy Cron

Ira Pastor, ideaXme life sciences ambassador and founder of Bioquark, interviews Dr. Randy Cron, MD, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and the Arthritis Foundation, Alabama chapter endowed chair in Pediatric Rheumatology.

Ira Pastor Comments:

As we are a few months into the Covid-19 pandemic, a medical term we’ve been hearing mentioned quite a bit in the press in terms of the pathophysiology of the infection, is that of Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS) or Cytokine Storm Syndrome (CSS) is a form of systemic hyper-inflammatory response that can be triggered by a variety of factors such as infections, as well as certain drugs.

CRS/CSS occurs when large numbers of white blood cells are activated and release inflammatory cytokines (which are a broad category of proteins important in cell signalling) which in turn activate yet more white blood cells, and the cycle repeats in a very dangerous and deadly cascade which can harm and kill patients via systemic hyper-inflammation, hypotensive shock, and multi-organ failure.

Just a few months ago, the Springer publishing organization released a text entitled “Cytokine Storm Syndrome” — a first of its kind book to addresses all aspects of this unique disorder, from genetics, pathophysiology, and ongoing research related to clinical presentations, risk factors, and treatment.

Dr. Cron with Dr. Ed Behrens, Head of Pediatric Rheumatology at CHOP/UPENN, Photo Credit: Dr. Randy Cron

Dr. Randy Cron

Today we are joined by one of the co-authors of this book, Dr. Randy Q. Cron, MD, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and the Arthritis Foundation, Alabama chapter endowed chair in Pediatric Rheumatology.

Dr. Cron is also the Director of the Division of Pediatric Rheumatology and the Pediatric Rheumatology fellowship program at Children’s of Alabama, a private not-for-profit, which provides specialized medical care for ill and injured children, and is ranked among the best pediatric medical centers in the U.S.

Dr. Cron received his medical degree from UCLA and a doctorate in Immunology from the University of Chicago, with Pediatric residency training at Stanford Children’s Hospital in California and Pediatric Rheumatology fellowship training at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Seattle.

Dr. Cron is board-certified in Pediatric Rheumatology, is the past president of the Alabama Society for Rheumatic Diseases, and a member of American Academy of Pediatrics, Society for Pediatric Research, American Association of Immunologists, American College of Rheumatology and numerous other professional organizations.

His major research interests include: dysregulation of CD154 protein that is primarily expressed on activated T cells in systemic lupus erythematosus; CD4 T cell host factor regulation of HIV-1 LTR transcriptional activity and latency; genetic mutations leading to defective lymphocyte cytolytic activity; diagnosis and treatment of temporomandibular joint arthritis in childhood arthritides, and the diagnosis and treatment of Macrophage Activation Syndrome (MAS), a severe, potentially life-threatening, complication of several chronic rheumatic diseases of childhood, and a component of the umbrella of conditions that make up CRS/CSS.

On this episode we will hear from Dr. Cron about:

His background: he developed an interest in pediatric medicine, immunology, and the very specialized pathology of CRS/CSS. An overview of CRS/CSS and conditions under the CRS/CSS umbrella including Macrophage Activation Syndrome and Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis. Treatment modalities for CRS/CSS. The connection between CSS and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS); a type of respiratory failure characterized by rapid onset of widespread inflammation in the lungs, and responsible for many deaths in Covid-19 patients. His views on the use of the lupus drug Hydroxychloroquine in Covid-19 patients.

Ira Pastor, life sciences ambassador ideaXme

Credits: Ira Pastor interview video, text, and audio.

Follow Ira Pastor on Twitter: @IraSamuelPastor

If you liked this interview, be sure to check out our interview with Dr. Stanley Plotkin, the godfather of vaccines!

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