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New research investigating the use of a child’s own (autologous) umbilical cord blood in the treatment of hearing loss has yielded positive results, as reported in the Journal of Audiology and Otology.

Over 2,000 babies are born in Canada every year with hearing loss making it one of the most common defects at birth1. Hearing loss has been proven to affect a child’s speech, behavior, academic performance, along with their emotional and social development.

The study, conducted at the Florida Hospital for Children, demonstrated that the infusion of autologous cord blood in children with sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is safe, feasible and may provide improved hearing in patients with SNHL.

SNHL is defined as hearing loss due to permanent damage or dysfunction of the inner ear (as opposed to other structures of the ear) and there is currently no cure.

Eleven children with moderate to severe acquired SNHL, ranging from 6 months to 6 years old, participated in the trial using their own cord blood2 which was stored at a family bank. The participants’ auditory functions were assessed before and after the treatment, along with verbal language assessments and brain imaging.

Preliminary data suggests clinical improvements in some children with an infused dose of at least 15 million cells for every one kilogram of body weight compared to children treated with a lower dose. These promising results from the Phase I study support further research into the effect of the use of umbilical cord blood in treatment of children with SNHL.

For over 30 years, cord blood stem cells have been used in transplantation for more than 40,000 patients worldwide to help treat cancers, blood disorders, and immune disorders.3 New therapies are also being researched for potential future uses of cord blood for conditions including type-1 diabetes, cerebral palsy and autism.

Expectant parents are encouraged to learn more about their cord blood and tissue storage options.

  1. http://www.hearingfoundation.ca/newborn-hearing-screening/
  2. Baumgartner et al J Audiol Otol 2018 Aug 22 [Epub ahead of print]
  3. Ballen K. Update on umbilical cord blood transplantation. F1000Res. 2017;6:1556. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.11952.1.

8 Responses to “Promising Results From First Study Using Cord Blood to Treat Children With Hearing Loss”

  1. Arlene Ashe

    I have a 14-year-old who suffers from hearing loss. I would like to try this for her. She has her blood cord in storage. How can you help us?
    Arlene

    Reply
    • Cells for Life

      Hi Arlene – thank you for your comment. I would encourage you to call our Client Services team to discuss. They can be reached at 1-877-235-1997, Option 3. You can ask to speak with Cynthia, one of our senior managers.

      Reply
  2. Dana Steffey

    My daughter is unilaterally deaf from birth. She is 14 now. We were not told about storing her cem cells. Is there other options? Do other stem cells work if they are from someone else?

    Reply
  3. Nancy

    I have a 12 year old son with hearing loss. His sister has stored cord blood, could hers work for him?

    Reply
    • Cells for Life

      Hi Nancy – thank you for your comment. Currently, the study only recruited children with their own cord blood stored, not sibling cord blood. We do not know the criteria for the phase 2/3 of the study. If you’d like to talk about this further, I would encourage you to call our Client Services at 1-877-235-1997, Option 3. You can ask to speak to Cynthia, one of our senior managers.

      Reply
  4. Carrie

    Hi, my daughter has her cord blood stored and has a perforated ear drum for over 1 and 1/2 years… She is on a waiting list in Canada for surgery, but she is also a U.S. citizen. She was born in 2009. Would you have any options that you might be offering for her situation?

    Reply
    • Cells for Life

      Hi Carrie – Thank you for your question related to your daughter’ perforated ear drum and options.

      There has been one clinical trial evaluating the use of autologous umbilical cord blood in children with acquired sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL; Baumgartner et al (2018) J Audiol Otol 22(4): 209-222). SNHL is defined as hearing loss due to damage or dysfunction of the inner ear – as opposed to other structures of the ear, such as the ear drum. SNHL can result from premature birth, infections, or exposure to noise or ototoxic drugs, leading to irreversible damage to the fragile hair cells in the inner ear.

      This study demonstrated that cord blood infusions were safe, feasible and well tolerated in SNHL patients and 45% of the patients showed improvements in the Auditory Brainstem Response after their cord blood infusion.

      While encouraging for patients with SNHL, the application of cord blood in patients with perforated ear drums has not been tested to date so unfortunately there are no options that we can offer for your daughter.

      If you are interested in investigating clinical trials for perforated ear drums, an excellent website is https://clinicaltrials.gov/

      Reply

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