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From The Wall Street Journal


Cord Blood Registry (CBR) is the exclusive partner for a growing number of clinical researchers focusing on the use of a child's own cord blood stem cells to help treat pediatric brain injury and acquired hearing loss. To ensure consistency in cord blood stem cell processing, storage and release for infusion, three separate trials have included CBR in their FDA-authorized protocol--including two at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) working in partnership with Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, and a third at Georgia Health Sciences University, home of the Medical College of Georgia (MCG). This makes CBR the only family stem cell bank pairing researchers with prospective patients for these studies.

"Partnering with a series of specialists who want to research the use of a child's own newborn blood stem cells on a variety of disease states allows CBR to help advance medical research for regenerative therapies by connecting the child whose family banked with CBR to appropriate researchers," said Heather Brown, MS, CGC, Vice President of Scientific & Medical Affairs at Cord Blood Registry. "The pediatric specialists from UTHealth, Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, and Georgia Health Sciences University are at the forefront of stem cell research as they evaluate cord blood stem cells' ability to help facilitate the healing process after damage to nerves and tissue."

Hearing Loss and Traumatic Brain Injury Clinical Trials Break New Ground

Sensorineural hearing loss affects approximately 6 per 1,000 children by 18 years of age, with 9 percent resulting from acquired causes such as viral infection and head injury.(1,2,3) The Principal Investigator of the hearing loss study 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. He is joined by James Baumgartner, M.D., sponsor of the study and guest research collaborator for this first-of-its-kind FDA-regulated, Phase 1 safety study of the use of cord blood stem cells to treat children with acquired hearing loss. 

The trial follows evidence from published studies in animals that cord blood treatment can repair damaged organs in the inner ear. Clients of CBR who have sustained a post-birth hearing loss and are 6 weeks to 2 years old may be eligible for the year-long study. "The window of opportunity to foster normal language development is limited," said James Baumgartner, M.D. "This is the first study of its kind with the potential to actually restore hearing in children and allow for more normal speech and language development."

Although the neurologic outcome for nearly all types of brain injury (with the exception of abuse) is better for children than adults,(4,5) trauma is the leading cause of death in children,(6) and the majority of the deaths are attributed to head injury.(7) Distinguished professor of pediatric surgery and pediatrics at UTHealth, Charles S. Cox, M.D. launched an innovative study building on a growing portfolio of research using stem cell-based therapies for neurological damage. The study will enroll 10 children ages 18 months to 17 years who have umbilical cord blood banked with CBR and have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and are enrolled in the study within 6-18 months of sustaining the injury. 

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