Atul Malhotra, MD, PhD, on Treating Preterm Infants With Autologous Stem Cell Therapy


The head of the early neurodevelopment clinic at Monash Children's Hospital discussed clinical trials in the field of neonatal cell therapy.

“For the first time, we have shown that it is feasible in close to 80% of cases to derive enough stem cells and cell therapy options from these babies' own cord blood. Then we concentrate, harvest, and then are able to produce a cell therapeutic option for giving back to the baby.”


Extremely preterm infants are those born after less than 28 weeks of gestation who generally weight less than 1 kilogram. These infants are highly vulnerable and may experience serious complications and risks to survival. In many cases, the umbilical cord and placenta from these births are discarded, as is the case for many births in general. Although, recent research carried out by the Newborn Cell Therapies Group at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, has indicated that these preterm infants’ umbilical cords and placenta may be a valuable source of stem cells for autologous stem cell therapy products. As such, the Group carried out an early phase clinical trial evaluating the feasibility and potential of treating preterm infants with neonatal stem cell therapy products manufactured from their own cord blood. After achieving promising results in the initial trial, the group is now progressing to a larger international phase 2/3 clinical trial.

CGTLive® spoke with Atul Malhotra, MD, PhD, the head of the early neurodevelopment clinic at Monash Children's Hospital, to learn more about neonatal stem cell therapy and the aforementioned clinical trials. Malhotra was only able to discuss the early results of the initial trial in a limited fashion because the full data presentation will take place later on at the 2024 Neonatal Cell Therapies Symposium, which will be held in Sydney, Australia, on June 24 to 25, 2024. Although, he did note that the results indicate the approach is feasible and safe. Malhotra also spoke about the growing field of neonatal cell therapy more generally, and emphasized the need for collaboration among experts.

Click here for information about the 2024 Neonatal Cell Therapies Symposium.

1. Lions Foundation provides support to neonatal cell therapy research. News release. Monash University. August 25, 2022.
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