Monash Newborn makes major progress in fighting neonatal lung disease

Congratulations to Dr Atul Malhotra, Consultant Neonatologist at Monash Newborn who has achieved significant results in his research using stem cells to combat chronic lung disease in premature babies.

The study led by Dr Malhotra, in collaboration with Professor Euan Wallace (Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Monash University), and Associate Professor Rebecca Lim (Hudson Institute of Medical Research), tested the potential new therapy to measure its safety.

“The primary outcome of the trial was safety. We now know it is safe, next we need to show it is effective and then this therapy could be a potential game changer if we show it works,” said Dr Malhotra.

Using placental stem cells from healthy donor placentas, researchers injected the stem cells into neonates with chronic lung disease.

“We believe these placental stem cells help ‘kick start’ the baby’s own immune system to ‘empower’ them to prevent or fight this debilitating condition,” said Dr Malhotra.

The study followed the first five infants to receive this therapy until 2 years corrected age and assessed events, growth, respiratory, cardiac, and neurodevelopmental outcomes at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months of age. There were no adverse events noticed that could be attributed to the stem cell administration.

“Chronic lung disease has considerable impacts on the baby, the family and the community. If we can lessen the burden of this significant complication, everyone stands to gain from it.”

Congratulations to the research team for their success.

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