RNL BIO Rescues a College Student from Autoimmune Hearing Loss

- RNL BIO's success of stem cell treatment

- Chloe, a college student who was diagnosed with autoimmune hearing loss regained her hearing after two months of receiving stem cell treatment.

Nov 04, 2009, 06:46 ET from RNL BIO Co., Ltd

SEOUL, South Korea, Nov. 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- RNL BIO Co., Ltd, (www.rnl.co.kr) a leading biopharmaceutical company specialized in adult stem cell therapeutics announced today that it treated an American college student who was suffering from autoimmune hearing loss and she gained her hearing back in two months after treatment.

Chloe Sohl, an 18-year old college student who majors in music at University of Arizona was suffering from autoimmune hearing loss since the age of 15. Although there is no known cause of her diagnosis, it is a serious disease that slowly damages the organs. Chloe's father, Dr. Bertram Sohl is a director of Obstetrics and Gynecology at St. Mary's Medical Center in Long Beach, California and her mother, Dr. Veronique Jotterand is an ophthalmologist and Vice Chief of Staff at Miller Children's Hospital in Long Beach, California. Even though Chloe's parents are medical doctors, they felt helpless and devastated about their daughter's progressive condition. They tried every possible medication, but Chloe's condition got worse. The only options they had were for Chloe to use a hearing aid and for her to take medication to slow down her autoimmune system. Dr. Tai June Yoo, a professor from University of Tennessee and a medical advisor of RNL BIO explained as specialist in immune diseases, that if Chloe continues to take strong medication like Methotrexate and Humira, there will be high chances for further serious complications without guarantee of improvement. Her doctors even recommended Chloe to receive Cochlea implant that would enable Chloe to hear some sound, but would irreversibly destroy the middle ear, which scared her parents.

Ever since Dr. Sohl met Dr. Jeong Chan Ra, CEO of the firm, they began to see hope in Chloe's hearing. Dr. Ra established RNL Life Science in California to promote stem cell banking and to introduce the benefit of stem cell therapy through medical tourism. He held a seminar on April 20, 2009 with 30 doctors from Southern California on the topic of adult stem cell therapy in San Pedro, California. Among the attendees was Dr. Sohl, who was stunned at RNL BIO's achievements in stem cell therapeutics that was able to improve various conditions by stem cell treatment. The principle of adult stem cell therapy is actually simple because it utilizes the natural healing ability of our own body.

"Every part of our body already contains stem cells that play a key role in maintaining and repairing our own structural and functional system. Due to aging, the amount of stem cells decrease and that's why the time and ability to recover from cellular damage slow down and chronic and degenerative symptoms develop as time goes by. The principle of our stem cell treatment is to make enough amount of stem cells and to bring them back to the patient's own body. Surprisingly, we found that stem cell therapy has great potential to treat autoimmune diseases," explained Dr. Ra.

Earlier this year, RNL BIO treated patients with atopic dermatitis. Other autoimmune disorders have also been treated in addition to atopy. Many stem cell researchers have demonstrated that mesenchymal stem cells modulate the immune system and suppress inflammation as a major therapeutic effect. Chloe's hearing loss falls into this example. This treatment was supposed to soothe any hypersensitive immune response and repair damaged organ so that she might hear again.

Dr. Sohl was very intrigued for his daughter to receive stem cell treatment, but his wife was skeptical about Chloe getting stem cell therapy at first. Chloe's physicians even discouraged Chloe from receiving stem cell treatment. However, they were able to decide to try this treatment for Chloe from seeing RNL BIO's successful outcomes. The great safety profile of RNL stem cell therapy made them comfortable. Chloe felt assured to accept the therapy.

Chloe said, "I felt very good about it. I felt very optimistic. I've had IV's every month since I started to lose my hearing. It was good because I knew this could work unlike the other ones. I just felt very optimistic about the whole procedure."

Currently, stem cell transplant is not allowed in some countries like the United States, some European countries, and South Korea unless it gets a market approval through clinical trials as new pharmaceutical drugs undergo. Chloe had to travel outside of the United States and to Japan or China where RNL established stem cell clinics. More than 2,000 patients with various diseases have been treated with stem cell therapeutics through RNL BIO since 2008.

Chloe visited Dr. Won, a plastic surgeon in Los Angeles to harvest her fat tissue around her belly button in last June. Then the tissue was sent to the laboratory RNL BIO in Germantown, Maryland, where they isolated stem cells, put them in liquid nitrogen shipper and transported them to RNL BIO in Seoul, Korea. It took them a month to expand her stem cells to a sufficient amount enough to treat her hearing loss. Chloe's family planned a trip to Korea during their summer vacation. At last, on July 27, 2009, they visited Korea for two weeks. The stem cell treatment took place in Japan -- 600 million cells were administered by three injections with 5 day intervals. The cells were injected into her veins and auditory system.

Chloe's hearing was tested two months after the procedure was completed on October 16, 2009. The results were spectacular. The left side of her ear improved 50% from not being able to hear at all. The right side of her ear gained almost complete hearing.

Dr. Jotterand could not bear her excitement, "Now it's just been a 180 degree turnaround. She's just enjoying life and enjoying being a freshman at the university. She's just having a great time and it's just wonderful to see the joy in her own face and in her life."

Chloe's parents invited Dr. Ra and other members of RNL BIO to their home in Long Beach to celebrate her miracle. They expressed their gratitude and felt like they received a gift of miracle. Thus, they promised to support RNL BIO's promoting stem cell business in the United States.

President and CEO of RNL BIO, Dr. Ra stated, "Through this great discovery and research of adult stem cells, I am committed to create and develop therapies that will not only prevent diseases, but ensure a better quality of life for all."


RNL BIO is a premier biotechnology company focused on the research and development of adult derived stem cell therapies. RNL has two therapies in Phase II clinical trials for Buerger's Disease as well as Osteoarthritis and one phase I trial for spinal cord injury. RNL is a publicly traded company on the Korean Stock Exchange (Code 003190) and is expanding its operations throughout the world.

For questions regarding the press conference or receiving stem cell therapy, please contact Jin Han Hong, Ph.D., managing director at hongjh@rnl.co.kr.