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Neuroprotection Using Human Extremely Low Gestational Age Neonate-Derived Umbilical Cord Blood Stem Cells in Neonatal Hemorrhagic Brain Injury

Research Grant Recipient: Raghavendra Rao, MD

Award Value: $247,593

Research Focus: Brain injury in the pre-term infant

Each year in the United States, 12,000 extremely preterm infants (birth before 28 weeks of pregnancy) develop bleeding within the brain soon after birth. The condition known as periventricular/intraventricular hemorrhage (PIVH) is a major cause of death and neurodevelopmental disabilities in these infants. Currently, there is no effective treatment for PIVH. Our study will determine whether the umbilical cord blood of extremely preterm infants contains neuroprotective stem cells and test their capacity for reducing the severity of brain injury in an animal model of PIVH. Successful completion of the study will provide the proof-of-principle for pursuing umbilical cord blood-derived stem cell transfusion as a treatment for PIVH in human preterm infants.

Dr. Rao is an Associate Professor in the Division of Neonatology and a core faculty member of the Center for Neurobehavioral Development at the University of Minnesota. His research focuses on brain development under typical and adverse conditions before and after birth.

Raghavendra, Rao, MD