Researchers at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center continue their research into the use of stem cells to reverse hearing loss. Their current study is the first of its kind on human subjects. The patients are infants who lost their hearing during the prenatal period or shortly after birth. Genetically- deafened children are not eligible for this study. The infants were injected with their own umbilical cord blood, which had been harvested at birth.
Anecdotal information from one child’s mother suggests that some improvement in hearing may have occurred, although no data confirming the claim have been released by the research team.
The Cord Blood Registry reports that additional clinical studies currently are being conducted using cord blood stem cells to treat autism, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, and pediatric stroke.
Animal studies on hair cell regeneration also are in progress at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary/Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and at Stanford University.