Dr. Bernard Thébaud and his team have shown for the first time that stem cells taken from human umbilical cords can help newborn rats survive sepsis. This condition kills half a million babies worldwide every year, and occurs when the immune system overreacts to an infection and attacks the organs. “Caring for a newborn with severe sepsis is heartbreaking,” said Dr. Thébaud. “Current treatments are limited, and antibiotic resistance makes it even more difficult to treat. These babies desperately need new therapies, and that’s where stem cells might help.” When Dr. Thébaud’s team used mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) to treat newborn animal models with sepsis, 80 percent of the rats survived, compared to 50 percent in the control group. The treatment also reduced the number of harmful bacteria living in the animal models.
Watch Dr. Bernard Thébaud discuss his research to help premature babies