SAN FRANCISCO, May 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Newborn Possibilities Fund, a grant making program established by CBR (Cord Blood Registry), today announced it has provided a grant to the Memorial Hermann Foundation in Houston, Texas. Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital and CBR are conducting the first FDA-regulated, Phase 1 safety study of the use of cord blood stem cells to treat children with sensorineural hearing loss. The grant will provide financial support to help with travel and other expenses for families with a child participating in the trial.
The study, which will use patients' stem cells from their own stored umbilical cord blood, will follow 10 children (ages 6 weeks to 18 months) who have sustained acquired hearing loss. This follows evidence from published laboratory studies that cord blood helps repair damaged organs in the inner ear.
Children enrolled in the trial will be admitted to Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital to undergo a series of blood tests, hearing and speech tests, and an MRI that will view the tracts that send signals from the inner ear to the brain. Researchers will obtain the patients' stored cord blood for treatment and the cells then will be given to the patients via IV infusion. Patients will return to the hospital for follow-up testing at one month, six months and one year post infusion. The Principal Investigator is Samer Fakhri, M.D., surgeon at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and associate professor and program director in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery at UTHealth. Linda Baumgartner, MS, CCC-SLP, Auditory-Verbal Therapist, is a co-investigator of the study.
"Currently, the only treatment options for sensorineural hearing loss are hearing aids or cochlear implants," Dr. Fakhri said. "We hope that this study will open avenues to additional treatment options for hearing loss in children."
The Newborn Possibilities Fund (NPF) was created to help advance clinical research investigating the use of a child's own cord blood stem cells as a treatment for conditions like cerebral palsy and traumatic brain injury. The NPF directs financial grants to non-profit organizations to help cover the cost of travel for families who have the chance to participate in FDA-regulated trials. The Fund is administered by Tides, a public charity, on behalf of CBR.
Patients who are enrolled in the trial at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital will be notified of the Newborn Possibilities Fund and have the opportunity to receive funds to use toward the cost of travel to Houston for the cord blood infusion procedure and required follow up visits.
"This study is exciting because it might offer a non-surgical option for some children with profound loss," Linda Baumgartner said. "What's more, this is the first treatment with the potential to restore hearing."
Through generous donations, the Newborn Possibilities Fund hopes to provide financial support for additional trials already underway at leading research institutions across the country. For more information on the program or to donate, please visit www.newbornpossibilities.com/donate.
About Tides Tides is a values-based, social change platform that leverages individual and institutional leadership and investment to positively impact local and global communities. Tides pursues multiple, related strategies to promote this mission. From green nonprofit centers to programmatic consulting, donor advised funds to fiscal sponsorship, grants management to risk management and more, Tides gives members of the nonprofit and philanthropic community freedom to focus on the change it wants to see. For more information on Tides visit www.tides.org.
About Cord Blood Registry CBR® (Cord Blood Registry®) is the world's largest and most experienced stem cell bank. For more than 15 years, we have led the industry in technical innovations. We are entrusted by parents with storing cord blood and tissue for more than 400,000 children. Moreover, CBR was the first bank to offer families in the U.S. storage for stem cells contained in cord tissue, which may help repair the body in different ways.
CBR has also helped more clients use their cord blood stem cells in treatments than any other family bank. Our research and development efforts are focused on helping leading clinical researchers advance regenerative medicine that may help families in the future. For more information, visit www.cordblood.com.