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New stem cell therapy may lead to treatment for deafness
Date:3/23/2009

w the typical formation of a hair bundle, the authors suggest that future studies will aim to improve the differentiation system. They are currently working on using the knowledge gleaned from this study to optimize the differentiation of human embryonic stem cells into ear cell types.

"Although considerable information has been obtained about the embryology of the ear using animal models, the lack of a human system has impaired the validation of such information," the authors note.

"Access to human cells that can differentiate should allow the exploration of features unique to humans that may not be applicable to animal models," says Donald G. Phinney, co-editor of the journal. The protocol they developed to expand and isolate human fetal auditory stem cells may be able to be adapted for deriving clinical-grade cells with potential therapeutic applications.

Dr Ralph Holme, director of biomedical research for Royal National Institute for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People, said: "There are currently no treatments to restore permanent hearing loss so this has the potential to make a difference to millions of deaf people."


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Contact: Sean Wagner
journalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.com
781-388-8550
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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