Melbourne: In what could help restorehearing loss in humans, an Indian-origin scientist-led teamhas shown for the first time that injecting stem cells fromnose into ears of mice with deafness improved their hearing. Sonali Pandit and colleagues at Garvan Institute ofMedical Research in Australia have claimed that the researchhas the potential to reverse or restore hearing during earlyonset sensorineural hearing loss in people.
"We are encouraged by our initial findings, becauseall the mice injected with stem cells showed improved hearingin comparison with those given a sham injection. Roughly halfof the mice did very well indeed, although it is important tonote that hearing wasn`t completely restored to normal hearinglevels," team member Sharon Oleskevich said. Adult human nasal stem cells were used in the study,as they are plentiful, easy to obtain and unspecialised (sohave the ability to self-renew for long periods, as well asdifferentiate into cells with a variety of functions). Though it has taken five years to reach the currentstage of research, the scientists anticipate that it will takea further decade at least for the findings to benefit people. The findings have been published in the latest editionof the `Stem Cells` journal. PTI
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