Stem cells for bronchopulmonary dysplasia in preterm infants: A randomized controlled phase II trial

Stem Cells Transl Med. 2021 Aug;10(8):1129-1137. doi: 10.1002/sctm.20-0330. Epub 2021 Apr 20.


We previously demonstrated the safety and feasibility of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) transplantation for bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) in preterm infants in a phase I clinical trial. We thus investigated the therapeutic efficacy of MSCs for BPD in premature infants. A phase II double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted on preterm infants at 23 to 28 gestational weeks (GW) receiving mechanical ventilator support with respiratory deterioration between postnatal days 5 and 14. Infants were stratified by 23 to 24 GW and 25 to 28 GW and randomly allocated (1:1) to receive stem cells (1 × 107 cells/kg, n = 33) or placebo (n = 33). Although the inflammatory cytokines in the tracheal aspirate fluid were significantly reduced with MSCs, the primary outcome of death or severe/moderate BPD in the control group (18/33, 55%) was not significantly improved with MSC transplantation (17/33, 52%). In the subgroup analysis, the secondary outcome of severe BPD was significantly improved from 53% (8/15) to 19% (3/16) with MSC transplantation in the 23 to 24 GW group but not in the 25 to 28 GW subgroup. In summary, although MSC transplantation might be safe and feasible, this small study was underpowered to detect its therapeutic efficacy in preterm infants at 23 to 28 GW. Accordingly, we are now conducting an additional larger and controlled phase II clinical trial focusing on infants at 23 to 24 GW (NCT03392467). identifier: NCT01828957.

Keywords: bronchopulmonary dysplasia; cell transplantation; mesenchymal stem cells; premature infants.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia* / therapy
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation* / adverse effects

Associated data