Stem cell therapies for neonatal lung diseases: Are we there yet?

Semin Perinatol. 2023 Apr;47(3):151724. doi: 10.1016/j.semperi.2023.151724. Epub 2023 Mar 12.


Lung diseases are a main cause of mortality and morbidity in neonates. Despite major breakthroughs, therapies remain supportive and, in some instances, contribute to lung injury. Because the neonatal lung is still developing, the ideal therapy should be capable of preventing/repairing lung injury while at the same time, promoting lung growth. Cell-based therapies hold high hopes based on laboratory experiments in animal models of neonatal lung injury. Mesenchymal stromal cells and amnion epithelial cells are now in early phase clinical trials to test the feasibility, safety and early signs of efficacy in preterm infants at risk of developing bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Other cell-based therapies are being explored in experimental models of congenital diaphragmatic hernia and alveolar capillary dysplasia. This review will summarize current evidence that has lead to the clinical translation of cell-based therapies and highlights controversies and the numerous questions that remain to be addressed to harness the putative repair potential of cell-based therapies.

Keywords: Alveolar capillary dysplasia; Bronchopulmonary dysplasia; Congenital diaphragmatic hernia; Lung injury; Preterm birth; Stem cell.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases* / therapy
  • Infant, Premature
  • Lung
  • Lung Injury*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells*