Hair grown from stem cells ’may restore hearing to the deaf’
In what could raise fresh hopes for those heard of hearing, British scientists have grown the delicate hair cells found in the inner ear in a laboratory.world Updated: Mar 29, 2009 12:30 IST
In what could raise fresh hopes for those heard of hearing, British scientists have grown the delicate hair cells found in the inner ear in a laboratory.A team at Sheffield University has created the complex hair cells and the neurons needed for hearing from human stem cells the scientists found they could encourage stem cells from the inner ears of human foetuses to grow into the highly specialised hearing cells, ‘The Daily Telegraph´ reported.
According to them, eventually the cells could be used to perform cell transplants in deaf patients to replace the hair cells and neurons that are damaged in a form of deafness known as sensorineural hearing loss.Sensorineural hearing loss is one of the most common forms of deafness, accounting for 90 per cent of cases and affecting millions of people worldwide.
Lead researcher Dr Marcelo Rivolta said: “The hair cells and neurons that give us the ability to hear are only produced during the embryonic stage of development. Once they are damaged or lost, they do not regenerate.“There is a clear need for a therapy that can regenerate or replace these hair cells and neurons when they are damaged.”