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, neonatologist and senior scientist at The Ottawa Hospital and CHEO, and professor at the University of Ottawa. “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.”
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