The severely preterm infant receives a multitude of life-saving interventions, many of which carry risks of serious side effects. Cell therapy is an important and promising arm of regenerative medicine that may address a number of these problems. Most forms of cellular therapy use stem/progenitor cells or stem-like cells, which have the capacity to migrate, engraft and exert anti-inflammatory effects. Although some of these cell-based therapies have made their way to clinical trials in adults, little headway has been made in the neonatal patient group. This review discusses the efficacy of cell therapy in preclinical studies to date and their potential applications to diseases that afflict many prematurely born infants. Specifically, we identify the major hurdles that must be overcome before cell therapies can be safely used in the neonatal intensive care unit.
- bronchopulmonary dysplasia
- cell therapy
- human amnion epithelial cells
- mesenchymal stromal cells