"There are a number of treatments for hearing loss, but most of them rely on amplification of noises, not reversal of the hearing loss," said Dr. Samer Fakhri, associate professor and program director in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, and principal investigator of the study.
said it's still too early to determine whether the procedure benefitted Madeleine, or may be beneficial for other children.
"If there's any improvement, it should be detected within six months to a year," Fakhri
"We can't determine from just one child if there's an overall benefit."
If the study results show significant improvement overall among the collective children studied, children with acquired -- not genetic -- hearing loss, may be able to benefit from the procedure.
"We do not recommend that stem cells at this point now should be a treatment modality for hearing loss," Fakhri
Previous studies in mice suggest long-term hearing repair after stem cell infusion.
says it's likely that if the procedure works, children like Madeleine will have long-term restored hearing.
"The way the stem cells work is they support repair," said Fakhri