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FDA-approved trial in the US to treat hearing loss with cord blood stem cells

Florida Childrens Hospital in Orlando is launching a trial that will use children’s stem cells to treat acquired sensorineural hearing loss.

This groundbreaking phase 1 trial will be assesing whether a childs own cord blood can improve inner ear function, speech and language development.

Sensioneural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss, with up to 15% of children affected to some degree. This condition is caused by damage to the hair cells in the inner ear – which can be a result of birth injury, illness, head trauma, medication and excessive noise exposure. It is commonly seen in premature babies – and with more and more children surviving premature birth, doctors are seeing an increase in the number of young children with significant sensioneural hearing loss.

There are currently no therapies that are able to reverse the damage – with hearing aids and cochlear implants only reducing the symptoms rather than repairing the cells themselves.

Dr James Baumgartner, MD, Surgical Director of Florida Hospital for Childrens Comprehensive Paediatric Epilepsy Centre is the principal Director of this FDA approved trial. He says ‘Using cord blood stem cells to help trigger the body’s own repair mechanism could provide a non-invasive therapeutic option that does not exist today.’

The children in the study will be reinfused with their own cord blood, and then assessed at follow up appointments at 1 month, 6 months and 12 months after treatment. Doctors hope to see an improvement in inner ear function, speech and language development. The results of this study could be life-changing for children suffering from sensioneural hearing loss – which limit their development of language skills – affecting both their academic and social development.

This trial is one of a number of FDA-approved trials currently underway that are using cord blood in the field of regenerative medicine – to treat cerebral palsy, autism, paediatric stroke and brain injury amongst many other illnesses and injuries. The rapid development and promising results from these trials predict a bright future for the treatment of these diseases with stem cells!

To read the press-release for this FDA-approved trial, click here.

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