Doctors at the Ain Shams University Medical School in Cairo have registered a clinical trial with the United States National Institute of Health that aims to infuse premature and low birth-weight (less than 3.3 pounds) newborn infants with their own cord blood to speed up lung development and therefore reliance on respiratory machinery in neonatal units.
Each year around 6.4% of babies are born to New Zealand parents at less than 37 weeks gestation.
The study also aims to result in improved physical development in prem babies, who are often behind their peers in terms of milestones. They will also test neurodevelopmental outcomes at 6, 12 and 18 months of age.
An infusion of cord blood is safe and easy, so has the potential to become a standard treatment for pre-term babies. The treatment would be safe and cheap, and remove the need for longer expensive intensive care stays. It is also expected to lower the premature neonatal mortality rate. To read more about the study click here.