Cure for deafness `found`

Scientists claim to have discovered the "Holy Grail" of hearing loss.

Updated: May 14, 2010, 16:51 PM IST

London: In a major breakthrough which
may pave the way for a permanent cure for deafness, scientists claim to have discovered the "Holy Grail" of hearing loss.

An international team, led by Stanford University
School of Medicine, has actually found a way of re-creating
the sensitive "hair cells", which are vital for hearing, using
stem cell technology.

And, according to the scientists, the finding could
lead to a way for deaf people to regenerate their own inner
ear sensory cells to cure the condition.

Moderate to profound hearing loss is often caused
by damage to the "hair" cells in the cochlea -- an organ deep
inside the ear that converts vibrations into electrical

Finding a way to regrow cochlea hairs has long
been a major goal -- the Holy Grail -- of researchers studying
hearing loss.

The scientists now hope that the new study could be
a step towards a cure -- although a decade of further research
may be needed, the `Daily Express` reported.

Dr Ralph Holme, head of biomedical research
at the Royal National Institute for Deaf People, said: "The
possibility that stem cells could one day be used to restore
hearing is really exciting and could benefit millions."