Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital and Cord Blood Registry® (CBR) are launching the first FDA-approved, Phase I safety study on the use of cord blood stem cells to treat children with sensorineural hearing loss.

The study, which will use patients’ stem cells from their own stored umbilical cord blood, is reportedly the first of its kind, and has the potential to restore hearing, based on evidence from published laboratory studies that cord blood helps repair damaged organs in the inner ear.

The year-long study will follow 10 children, ages 6 weeks to 18 months, who have sustained post-birth hearing loss. Children who are deaf as a result of a genetic anomaly or syndrome are not eligible.

“Currently, the only treatment options for sensorineural hearing loss are hearing aids or cochlear implants,” says Dr Fakhri MD, principal investigator and surgeon atMemorialHermann-TexasMedicalCenter. “We hope that this study will open avenues to additional treatment options for hearing loss in children.”

“This study is exciting because it might offer a non-surgical option for some children with profound loss,” says co-investigator Linda Baumgartner MS, CCC-SLP.  “More importantly, this is the first treatment with the potential to restore normal hearing.”