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Stefan Heller, PhD, whose reflection can be seen in the droplet, hopes a simple ear drop may someday cure deafness. As a leader in stem cell-based research on the inner ear at the School of Medicine, he's got a step-by-step plan for making this dream a reality.
But even at the national level, those in the research community remain hopeful that Heller's work will reap successes sooner rather than later. The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine has awarded $25 million to the School of Medicine to advance its research in human embryonic stem cells. Among other things, the funding will launch an effort to create new stem cell lines using a process known as somatic cell nuclear transfer.
In other funded projects, researchers will work to isolate heart and blood stem cells from embryonic stem cells, and to generate inner ear cells, nerve cells or cells for tissue grafts in the heart.
James Battey, MD, director of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, lauded Heller as "one of the leading auditory neuroscientists" and points to his stem cell regeneration research as a high priority for the institute. Since coming to Stanford from Harvard two years ago, Heller has been focused on two paths: drug therapy -- which could be as simple as an application of ear drops -- and stem cell transplantation into the inner ear to remedy hearing loss.
Currently he's working on perfecting the steps toward eventual stem cell transplantation into humans, with the goal of first curing deafness in mice within the next five years. His lab is also busy studying the ability of birds to regenerate the tiny hair cells in the cochlea. The idea of using drug therapy to cure deafness became more plausible as a result of his lab's successes in the field of stem cell research during the past seven years. Later in 2003, his group reached another significant milestone: The team demonstrated that it is possible to coax embryonic stem cells in a test tube to differentiate into hair cells -- and then also to have the stem cells differentiate after transplantation into the ears of chicken embryos. The materials and information included in this electronic newsletter (Newsletter), including advertisements, are provided as a service to you and do not reflect endorsement by the Parent's Guide to Cord Blood Foundation (the "Foundation"). During the last 25 years, stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood have been used in more than 30,000 transplants performed worldwide for the treatment of over 80 diseases and disorders in both adults and children. With this potential in mind, researchers at Florida Hospital for Children are conducting an FDA-regulated clinical trial to determine the safety and feasibility of using a child's stem cells derived from their own umbilical cord blood as a treatment for sensorineural hearing loss.
In the United States, approximately 15% of children suffer from low or high-frequency hearing loss (1).
Hearing aids and cochlear implants have become welcome standards in assisting children with acquired hearing loss, but these devices don't actually repair associated damage to the cochlea, cochlear nerve or brain stem.

The study has a primary objective of determining the safety of using cord blood stem cells in a select pediatric patient population while also assessing whether this approach to treatment improves inner ear function, speech, and language development. A growing body of research provides evidence that stem cells derived from cord blood can be used to repair damaged or diseased tissue or organs. James & Linda Baumgartner are a husband and wife team who are co-principal investigators of the FDA-regulated clinical trial entitled "Safety of Autologous Stem Cell Treatment for Acquired Hearing Loss in Children". Florida Hospital for Children is a full-service facility served by more than 130 pediatric specialists and a highly trained pediatric team of more than 1,000 caregivers and staff. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.
The state agency handed out its first rounds of research awards this winter, with the medical school receiving 19 awards worth $25 million -- more than any other single institution. These new cell lines are expected to provide insight into a variety of diseases -- from diabetes to Parkinson's disease -- and open the way to developing new therapies. The research effort is led by Irving Weissman, MD, director of the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine.
It's these cells that convert the mechanical energy of sound into electrical impulses that are sent to the brain so that a chicken, a mouse or a human can hear. Heller gained international attention in 2003 for identifying stem cells that reside within the inner ear. The Foundation is not responsible for the accuracy and completeness of information provided by guest authors, outside sources, or on websites linked to the Newsletter.
The evolution of stem cell therapies has paved the way for further research being conducted through FDA-regulated clinical trials to uncover their potential in regenerative medicine applications. Aiming to restore normal hearing without the use of a prosthesis, the study will investigate whether using cord blood stem cells to help trigger the body's own repair mechanisms could provide a non-invasive therapeutic option for acquired hearing loss that does not exist today. Researchers will follow 10 children, ranging in age from 6 weeks to 6 years, who have been diagnosed with acquired hearing loss for less than 18 months and who have their own cord blood unit processed and stored under Cord Blood Registry's strict quality controls. Cord Blood Registry is the only family cord blood bank to partner with leading research institutions to establish FDA-regulated clinical trials exploring the potential regenerative ability of newborn stem cells to help treat conditions that have no cure today. Prevalence of hearing loss among children 6 to 19 years of age: the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. James Baumgartner, MD, serves as surgical director of the Comprehensive Pediatric Epilepsy Center at Florida Hospital for Children.

This unique children's hospital provides patients with private, family-centered pediatric rooms, a dedicated pediatric emergency department and an Advanced Center for Pediatric Surgery. Chickens, like all birds, have the ability to spontaneously regenerate these hair cells, which explains why there are no deaf birds. Since then, his research has focused on using these stem cells to regenerate the critically needed hair cells in the inner ear.
The Foundation reserves the right at any time to remove materials and information from the Newsletter without communication with the author or organization. Acquired sensorineural hearing loss results from damage to hair cells in the inner ear (cochlea) and can be caused by illness, medication, noise exposure, birth injury, or head trauma. The trial follows promising evidence from preclinical studies suggesting that the infusion of human umbilical cord stem cells may help repair damaged cells in the inner ear in ways that could lead to hearing improvement.
The results of the acquired hearing loss study and others may spur a new era in treating common neurological conditions impacting children and adults. The Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children, in Orlando, officially opened in March 2011, but Florida Hospital has been caring for children for more than 100 years. A child's ability to hear affects the development of language skills, and hearing impairments can lead to poor academic and social development (2). Patients will receive one intravenous infusion of their own umbilical cord blood stem cells.
Baumgartner is a board-certified pediatric neurosurgeon, specializing in traditional and minimally invasive surgical procedures for children and adolescents who are suffering from epilepsy or seizure-related disorders. The Foundation is not liable for any damages of any kind, nature or description (whether direct, consequential or punitive) arising out of or relating to information referenced in the Newsletter, or related in any way to the user's access to the Newsletter. AVT, is a speech-language pathologist and a certified auditory-verbal therapist practicing in Orlando, Florida. Baumgartner's specific areas of expertise include language acquisition, pediatric hearing loss, as well as language and speech assessment.

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25.08.2014 admin

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