Stem cell therapy and neurostimulation repair of white matter injury to prevent CP

Chief Investigators: R Pelekanos, CIs R Boyd, P Colditz, S Rose, N Fisk (QLD) CP Foundation (2014-2016) $145,000.

Aims: To assess the potential of (i) stem cell therapy, to prevent the white matter injury (WMI) and functional deficits in premature infants. The period of highest risk (≈32 wks gestation) is when pre-myelinating oligodendrocytes (OLs) (O4-positive cell surface marker) and immature OLs (O1-positive cell surface marker) are present in the brain white matter. So far the only effective treatment is hypothermia, which is now standard practice. A pre-clinical trial will determine if fetal mesenchymal stem cells (fMSC) or OL precursors pre-differentiated from fMSC will promote repair of preterm WMI.

New knowledge: As yet stem cell therapy has not been tested in infants at high risk of CP. This trial will provide knowledge on the feasibility & mechanism of fMSC for repair of WMI, for a later trial in preterm infants.