The hearing trial in Texas aims to take a first step in testing the safety, and later the efficacy, of transfusing cord blood in children age six weeks to 18 months who have sustained post-birth sensorineural hearing loss.
Some reasons that children lose their hearing at or after birth may include oxygen deprivation, head injury, infection, strong doses of antibiotics or loud noises.
Sensorineural hearing loss affects approximately six per 1,000 children, and there is no available medical treatment. Hearing aids or cochlear implants are typically offered to boost the ability of the damaged tissues.
"Stem cell therapy may potentially repair the damaged structures of the inner ear and restore normal hearing," lead investigator Samer Fakhri told AFP.
"We are at the initial stages of this process and the results are looking promising," Fakhri added.
LEARN MORE ABOUT LIFE-AFFIRMING FORMS OF STEM CELL RESEARCH