First published on Nine News, by Ehsan Knopf on 6 August 2019

An Australian hospital is touting a new trial aimed at treating premature babies with lung problems using placenta cells a success.

The human-first trial conducted at Monash Children’s Hospital saw cells from a human placenta successfully infused into six babies around the age of three months.

The findings were published today as part of a study in the STEM CELLS Translational Medicine journal.

Monash University and Hudson Institute scientists hope their treatment can reduce the need for baby ventilation and ultimately prevent chronic lung disease and brain conditions in premmies.

“Premature births can be devastating for some families. Especially those whose children develop chronic lung disease,” study co-lead author Dr Atul Malhotra told TODAY.

“Bronco(pulmonary) dysplasia leads to significant short-term but also long-term side effects in these babies.

“Our researchers 10 years ago found that placenta stem cells (trigger) the lung’s immune response…to help with this chronic lung disease.

“Now we are really excited because for the first time in the world, we have given these cells to six babies and (it’s) shown a good response, especially on the safety front.”

An additional trial will be conducted to study whether the cells can indeed help normalise lung growth among the babies.

Previous trials involving the use of lung repair with placenta cells have so far shown promising results.

Premature births make up two percent of total births.