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Am J Perinatol. 2019 Jul;36(S 02):S68-S73. doi: 10.1055/s-0039-1691774. Epub 2019 Jun 25.

Stem Cells for Extreme Prematurity.

Thébaud B1,2,3,4.

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Sinclair Centre for Regenerative Medicine, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Department of Molecular Medicine, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


Regenerative medicine is a bourgeoning field promising to repair damaged organs and thus has created high hopes in neonatology to curb some of the complications due to extreme preterm birth. Extensive laboratory investigations over the past 15 years have tried to harness the regenerative potential of a variety of (stem) cell-based therapies. Most preclinical studies have focused on experimental neonatal lung and brain injury. These promising results lead to the initiation of phase I clinical trials for chronic lung disease of prematurity and severe intraventricular hemorrhage, two of the most devastating complications of extreme preterm birth. Despite this relative rapid clinical translation, major gaps persist in our understanding of the biology of these putative repair cells and our ability to predict the quality and thus the efficacy of the cell product. This review will provide a brief overview of the various cell-based therapies that have been investigated in experimental neonatal lung injury and the remaining challenges in utilizing these new, disruptive therapies to their full extend to realize the promise of regenerative medicine in neonatology.


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