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Home Industry News Scientists make hearing loss cure breakthrough

Scientists make hearing loss cure breakthrough

2nd April 2009

Scientists have made a major breakthrough towards using stem cells as a treatment for hearing loss.

Researchers at the University of Sheffield managed to isolate human stem cells and discovered how to turn them into ones that behave like sensory hair cells or auditory neurons, which could be used to help restore hearing.

At present there is no way to repair cells which detect sounds once they’ve been damaged. The authors of the recent research suggest there is now a system based on human cells for testing therapies in the laboratory.

Lead researcher from the University of Sheffield Dr Marcelo Rivolta said in a statement: “The potential of stem cells is very exciting. We have now an experimental system to study genes and drugs in a human context.

“Moreover, these cells would help us to develop the technologies needed to deliver them into damaged tissues, such as the cochlea, in order to restore the different cell types.”

He concluded this should facilitate the development of stem cell treatment for deafness.

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