Acquired perinatal brain injuries are a set of conditions that remains a key challenge for neonatologists and that have significant social, emotional and financial implications for our communities. In our perspective article, we will introduce perinatal brain injury focusing specifically on the events leading to brain damage in preterm born infants and outcomes for these infants. Then we will summarize and discuss the preclinical and clinical studies testing the efficacy of stem cells as neuroprotectants in the last ten years in perinatal brain injury. There are no therapies to treat brain damage in preterm born infants and a primary finding from this review is that there is a scarcity of stem cell trials focused on overcoming brain injuries in these infants. Overall, across all forms of perinatal brain injury there is a remarkable heterogeneity in previous and on-going preclinical and clinical studies in terms of the stem cell type, animal models/patient selection, route and time of administration. Despite the quality of many of the studies this variation makes it difficult to reach a valid consensus for future developments. However, it is clear that stem cells (and stem cell derived exosomes) can reduce perinatal brain injury and our field needs to work collectively to refine an effective protocol for each type of injury. The use of standardized stem cell products and testing these products across multiple models of injury will provide a stronger framework for clinical trials development.
- Encephalopathy of prematurity
- Perinatal brain injury
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