Part 5: The Critical Patient

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, the executive chairman of the Los Angeles Times, discusses the third category of coronavirus patient: the critical patient. These, Soon-Shiong explains, are the patients filling ICUs across the country, for whom ventilators are needed as COVID-19 constricts their breathing and threatens their lives. Using drawings illustrating the mechanics of the lungs and immune system, Soon-Shiong shows how the body damages itself in the course of fighting the disease. Soon-Shiong goes on to propose that specialized stem cells derived from bone marrow may restrain the immune system and dampen the body’s fatal “cytokine storm.” Among the organizations looking at stem cell treatments are Soon-Shiong’s own biotech companies, ImmunityBio and NantKwest.

Soon-Shiong is a surgeon and scientist who has spent his career studying the human immune system to fight cancer and infectious diseases. He is also the chairman and chief executive of NantWorks and the owner of or investor in a number of companies, including ImmunityBio and NantKwest, which are currently researching immunotherapies for COVID-19.