What is it about?

Babies that are born too early have incompletely developed organs, including the lungs. As a result, many premature babies require machines which breath for them. We use stem cells from the human placenta to treat premature ventilated preterm lambs who have lung disease similar to premature babies. We show that placental stem cells do not reduce the need for machines that breathe for you, but they do improve signs of injury in the lungs. The potential for easily accessed placental stem cells as a therapeutic for premature birth-related complications is promising.

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Why is it important?

We show that in conjunction with other standards of care, placental stem cells can be reparative and reverse some indications of lung injury in the premature, ventilated lungs of newborns. This early intervention with placental stem cells appears to help rebuild the distal components of the lungs which are the regions of the lungs responsible for gas exchange and breathing. In studies with extended endpoints, we might see beneficial impact of placental stem cells for ease of breathing in premature babies.


Placental stem cells are now being used as a therapy in Phase 2 clinical trials for babies born prematurely with established lung injury and disease. We were able to show the reparative impacts of placental stem cells using premature lambs which received identical care to premature babies in intensive care

Paris Papagianis
Monash University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The effect of human amnion epithelial cells on lung development and inflammation in preterm lambs exposed to antenatal inflammation, PLoS ONE, June 2021, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0253456.
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