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Nasal stem cells show promise in treating childhood hearing problems

As per a new study published in 'Stem Cells,' the transplantation of nasal stem cells to the ear could preserve the hearing of people who have been suffering from auditory problems since infancy or childhood.


For many years scientists have focused on the capabilities and promise of stem cells that are the body’s master cells.

They found that mucosa-derived stem cells can help treat a sensorineural hearing loss which affects the nerves in the cochlea, the sensory organ of the inner ear that is responsible for hearing.

A sensorineural loss can be hereditary and can impair cognitive development and cause speech and language problems.

Lead author of the study Dr. Sharon Oleskevich from the Hearing Research Group at The University of New South Wales stated, "One of the challenges in tackling this condition is that the regenerative ability of the human cochlea is severely limited.

"It has been proposed that the transplantation of cells from other parts of the body could treat, prevent or even reverse hearing loss.

"The transplanted cells have the potential to repair tissue by replacing damaged cells and enhancing the survival of existing cells, preventing the condition from developing further.”

Details of the animal study
In a bid to assess the benefits of stem cell treatment, the researchers conducted an animal study.

They injected mucosa-derived stem cells into the cochlea of mice who exhibited signs that hearing loss.

The investigators used rodents in the study because they display early hearing loss in infancy similar to that of humans.

"The authors have used an interesting type of adult stem cell, related to mesenchymal stem cells, to reduce the extent of hearing loss. Since the cells did not integrate into the cochlea, it is likely that the effects from the adult stem cells were due to the release of factors to preserve function of the endogenous stem cells.

"Mesenchymal stem cells are known to provide factors to keep many types of cells healthy and functioning," said Jan Nolta, Associate Editor of 'Stem Cells'.

Revelations of the study
After a period of one month, the investigators examined the hearing threshold of each mouse using an auditory brainstem response test which measures the lowest sound level to which the brain responds.

It was noted that the hearing threshold level was significantly lower in rodents with transplanted nasal stem cells as opposed to those who were not treated.

Dr Sharon Oleskevich stated, "The results demonstrate a significant effect of nasal stem cell transplantations for sensorineural hearing loss.

"These cells can be obtained easily from the nasal cavity making this transplantation a potential treatment for other human conditions including Parkinson's disease and cardiac infarction."


Posts: 109
Reply with quote  #2 
Nice work Frebele!

Sounds promising for sure.  May be 5-10 years before they get to humans - unless they get fast track approval.
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