Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a condition of acute respiratory failure resulting from noncardiogenic pulmonary edema. It may occur as a consequence of lung infection, sepsis, trauma, aspiration or drug reaction. The pathogenesis of ARDS is understood to be an unregulated inflammatory cascade with both endothelial and epithelial layer damage leading to alveolar fluid collection and pulmonary edema. Despite improved understanding of the cause of ARDS, treatment remains supportive with a mortality rate ranging from 25-40%. Preclinical and early phase clinical trials have highlighted the potential role of mesenchymal stem cells in combating the inflammatory cascade through immunomodulatory mechanisms and assisting in tissue repair.