Four year old successfully treated with stem cells for deafness!
This breaking news came from Phi4sius. He got the information directly from them.
From Beike Biotech. I have been in touch with them since earlier this year. They responded earlier that they hadn't yet treated Sensorineural Hearing Loss. Obviously, things have changed on that front:
We are also happy to tell you that we have successfully treated two patients with severe sensorineural hearing loss with stem cell. The last patient was discharged last week from our [name removed to protect privacy] treatment center. We arranged some hearing tests for this 4 years old patient before and after stem cell treatment. Also we carried out a treatment satisfaction survey with the parents after treatment. Patient witnessed great improvement after stem cell treatment and was satisfied with this treatment.
Below we will give you a comparsion about the change of related hearing tests before and after stem cell treatment of this patient.
Freq. - Right (dB) / Left (dB)
250 - 70 / 70
500 - 91 / na
1000 - 106 / na
2000 - na / na
4000 - na / 98
Freq. - Right (dB) / Left (dB)
250 - 60 / 40
500 - 84 / 84
1000 - 74 / 109
2000 - 92 / 107
4000 - 101 / 96
ABR - No significant changes after treatment.
The results can't get anymore scientific than that other than long term studies. More treatments will probably yield more results after what I've seen online.
I have compiled the audiograms from the above information to make it easier to read! This audiogram shows both before and after on the same audiogram. It's crowded and I think I made a couple minor mistakes when compiling that audiogram. But the general idea is you can see that he improved in every frequency! Look how far up he hears at 250Hz! Wow!
This is his after audiogram! He achieved as much as 30db improvement in some frequencies! I was shocked and amazed at his excellent result at 250Hz in the left ear. Hearing unaided at 40db is just amazing! I was hearing at 35db at 250Hz sloping downwards to nothing in the higher frequencies with my old Widex Senso hearing aids! I am so excited to soon get the chance to be hearing unaided better than what many profoundly deaf hear aided! I showed this to my dad and he's all excited for me too! He said that is amazing hearing and I would hear some sounds/speech unaided and with HAs, I would hear alot more speech than I currently do!
Although he responded to every frequency after stem cells, his left ear may still be dead at 1000Hz and above. If they tested 750Hz, he may still have some usable hearing there. Before that, he probably had no usable hearing above 375Hz. So gaining a full octive of hearing is impressive! His right ear improved so much at 1000Hz, it's actually better than at 500Hz(and possibly at 750Hz too!) He has good, usable hearing to at least 2000Hz, possibly even 3000Hz to 4000Hz! We don't know what he's scoring on speech, but we know that stem cells has drastically improved his ability to understand speech, hear sounds, appreciate music and has given him higher frequency hearing which he lacked before!
Let's go over the facts and myths of stem cells!
1. Myth: Big deal, so youll get a 5db or 10db improvement.
Fact: Uh, no. You can get a 30db improvement with today's stem cells and in 3-5 years from now, many deaf people will be seeing more than 40db improvements!
2. Myth: Stem cells is risky.
Fact: Mesenchymal stem cell(MSC) unlike hematopoietic stem cell(HSC) does not produce immune response. Therefore does not require match. No one has ever died or became very ill due to stem cell complications out of over 5000 patients who have gotten stem cells for all kinds of diseases. Stem cells is far safer than any drug or surgery and is rapidly becomming the top choice to treat diseases.
3. Myth: Stem cells for deafness won't occur for at least 30 years.
Fact: Oh really? It's here now! Some labs have been using stem cells to improve hearing as early as 2006. This four year old was treated in 2009 and it's expected that we will see dozens, if not hundreds of people treated and have their hearing improved with stem cells in 2010 and beyond.
4. Myth: Big deal, cochlear implants are better.
Fact: Today, as of 2009, only in some cases but not for much longer. Stem cell technology is only a few years old. Cochlear implant technology is a few decades old. It wasn't till 2005 that cochlear implants became good enough that those who actually still had a little residual hearing were finally candidates. Before that, only those with no residual hearing or so little residual hearing that you scored 0% on speech were CI candidates. I suggest you view the advantages of stem cells over cochlear implants.
5. Myth: Stem cells is unaffordable.
Fact: The price is estimated at $30,000 for stem cells and that already includes travel and other costs. A cochlear implant costs twice that per ear and even if insurance covers that, youd still need to spend a fortune to get a 2nd CI. We all pay with higher insurance rates for something that's borderline elective anyway. I hope insurance doesn't pay for stem cells other than for diseases that could be fatal. No one has ever died from being deaf. Go and save the money yourself or take out a medical loan. Let us afford insurance to treat life saving diseases!
6. Myth: Stem cells won't cure your deafness.
Fact: Not yet, but as stem cell technology matures, it becomes a question of when, not if. The timeframe could be 5 years, 15 years or even 50 years before enough hearing is restored to make you hearing. This is defined as 25db(average) across the audiogram and 85% speech accuracy. It's been observed that even in birds who have a wonderful, natural ability to restore hearing, a 23db HL was the best possibly achieved. Many birds were mildly to moderately hard of hearing, although still not considered deaf.
7. Myth: I have no residual hearing so stem cells is hopeless!
Fact: Today's stem cell technology can restore a total hearing loss(125db HL arbitrary value) down to the 90-100db range. Severe degrees of hearing loss may be improved to as good as 40-60db. You would hear with HAs far better than CI with this much hearing. Remember that a normal hearing person has 15,000+ high quality hair cells per ear and can hear 0-10db HL to 16-20KHz for children and 10-20db HL to 12KHz for adults. Stem cells currently can regrow several hundred medium quality hair cells which work alongside your existing low and medium quality hair cells. Too many hair cells would only cause you to hear worse! Bird's regenerated hair cells were of medium quality unlike the originals which are high quality.
Further comments from me: I plan to travel and get stem cells to improve my unaided and aided hearing. The estimated timeframe will be 3-5 years as I am going to wait till hundreds of others get stem cells before me. I want to see results, audiograms, facts, blogs, etc from the pioneers who go before me. My friend Phi4sius says I may see enough results in less than 2 years for me to go ahead. He's going ahead soon. I look forward to his result and hope he improves alot in his dead ear!
For those of you who say I could get cochlear implant(s) now, I would rather have stem cells even today than a cochlear implant and for good reasons. If some stem cell lab was willing to take me on as a case study at no cost, I would seriously consider! Otherwise I am not in a hurry unlike the parents of that 4 year old. I don't know why the parents couldn't wait a few more years, maybe they were afraid he was falling too far behind on speech development? He might not have had enough residual hearing like I did back then to develop speech and speak clearly. Well stem cells addressed this and his hearing is much better than mine ever was! His parents didn't want to put him thru surgery for a CI. My dad commented that stem cells even today is the better(and arguably safer) choice since you avoid scary surgery! Stem cells can be administered by an injection or IV.
I am waiting a short while because results(and safety) will only improve. I can't afford to spend $30,000 to get it every year. The first time I get stem cells will be for around 40db improvement and the next time I get it will be for enough improvement to let me hear without HAs. I will post more as I get more news and audiograms of others who are pioneers in stem cells. This will give us a better idea of how much improvement to expect among other fators. Thanks for reading. I am so excited for those who improve their hearing and for my day to come!