Washington: Stem cells can be coaxed into becoming the hair cells deep inside the ears that are destroyed in hearing loss, US researchers reported on Thursday.The experiment, done with two types of stem cells, raises the possibility of treating many types of deafness and hearing loss, the team reported in the journal Cell.
Oshima and colleagues used embryonic stem cells from mice and a type of cell called a fibroblast cell for their experiment.They tried various factors -- proteins and chemicals -- to nurture the cells and nudge them into becoming hair cells."We knew it was really working when we saw them in the electron microscope," Stanford`s Stefan Heller said in a statement. "They really looked like they were more or less taken out of the ear."The next step is to try using human iPS cells, said Oshima, but it has not worked so far."This gives us real hope that there might be some kind of therapy for regenerating hair cells," said David Corey, a professor of neurobiology at Harvard University in Massachusetts who was not involved in the study."It could take a decade or more, but it`s a possibility."Bureau Report
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