Stem cell treatment for neonatal hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy

Chief Investigators: Colditz P, Khosrotehrani K, Bjorkman ST, Fisk N, Lingwood B, Wixey J

Funding source: Children’s Hospital Foundation, Innovation grant (2017-2019) $150,000

Aim: To undertake a systematic pre-clinical study to identify an effective stem cell treatment for neonatal hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE).

Methods: We will use a high-yield human placental source of sorted mesenchymal and endothelial stem cells which we have patented (PCT/AU2014/000252). The use of human cells has the merit of being immediately relevant to use in clinical trials. This method provides a high yield of sorted mesenchymal and endothelial progenitor cells with colony forming potential orders of magnitude greater than in umbilical cord blood. The preclinical piglet model incorporates hypothermia treatment which is standard care in human neonates with HIE. We will establish the neuroprotective efficacy of the stem cell treatment and also any additive protective effect of the candidate adjuvant, erythropoietin. The protocol is specifically designed to be suitable for direct transfer to a human trial.

New knowledge: In our preliminary pre-clinical studies, we have established that the human placental stem cells do not cause any acute reaction and that the stem cells survive and home to the ischemic brain.

Project weblink at the Perinatal Research Centre, UQ.