Study of cord blood stem cells to treat acquired hearing loss


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Digital Journal reports on a new study launched by the world's largest newborn stem cell company, Cord Blood Registry (CBR). The company has initiated a US FDA-regulated study on the use of stem cells (SCs) from a child’s own stored umbilical cord blood as a treatment for acquired sensorineural hearing loss.

This phase 1 study has the dual primary objective of assessing the safety of the approach and of determining whether it improves inner ear function, speech, and language development. Ten children who have been diagnosed with acquired hearing loss, and who have their own cord blood unit processed and stored at CBR, will be included in the study. Each patient is to be given a single IV infusion of their own umbilical cord blood SCs and will be followed-up at 1 month, 6 months, and 1 year after treatment.

“As more children survive premature birth, we are observing increasing numbers of very young children with significant acquired hearing loss, and currently there are no therapies available for reversing that damage,” says Linda Baumgartner, the trial’s Speech and Language Pathologist. James Baumgartner, the study’s principal investigator adds that “presently, the only treatment options for acquired sensorineural hearing loss are hearing aids or cochlear implants, neither of which actually repairs the damage. Using cord blood stem cells to help trigger the body’s own repair mechanisms could provide a non-invasive therapeutic option that does not exist today.”

Findings from preclinical studies have suggested that infusion of human umbilical cord SCs may repair damaged cells in the inner ear, potentially leading to hearing improvement, according to the report.

Source: Digital Journal