Premature Lungs

Preterm babies require supplemental oxygen and mechanical intervention to breathe, but this can damage their fragile lungs, causing bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), a chronic lung disease. With smaller and weaker lungs, and therefore a lack of oxygen during brain development, babies with BPD can develop learning disabilities or problems walking, hearing, and seeing. Approximately 1,000 babies in Canada develop BPD each year, and complications of extreme preterm birth are the number one cause of death in children under five years old.

Life-Saving Cell Therapy For Preterm Babies

Dr. Bernard Thébaud, Ottawa Hospital 

Earlier this year, Dr. Bernard Thébaud and his team at the Ottawa Hospital successfully treated their first patient in a world-first clinical trial using a stem cell therapy. This SCN-funded Phase I Clinical Trial will enroll up to nine babies at very high risk of developing BPD, being cared for in the neonatal intensive care units at The Ottawa Hospital or Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. The babies will be treated with an IV infusion of umbilical cord tissue cells grown from the donated umbilical cords of healthy newborns, manufactured with collaborators in Dresden, Germany. The goal of this trial is to determine whether the therapy is safe and feasible for premature babies, and to find the best dose for future trials.

“The treatment of our first preterm baby is a critical step towards a potential break-through therapy that could help premature babies in Canada and around the world.” – Dr. Bernard Thébaud

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