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Medical Breakthrough as Scientists Create Tiny Ear Hairs From Stem Cells to Cure Deafness

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posted on May, 22 2010 @ 10:47 PM
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www.impactlab.com...



A cure for deafness could be on the horizon after scientists created specialised ear cells in the lab. Grown in their thousands, the delicate hairs could one day be transplanted into the inner ear, restoring hearing to millions.



The breakthrough comes after ten years of painstaking research.

It may also allow some balance disorders to be eased and aid the search for drugs to prevent people from becoming hard of hearing.

Age-related hearing loss affects half of Britons aged 60 and over and there is currently no way of holding it at bay.

Hearing aids amplify sounds but nothing can give sufferers back the hearing they once had.

In the latest research at Stanford University, California, scientists perfected turning stem cells – blank cells which can turn into other cell types – into the delicate hairs found in the inner ear.

The linch-pin of hearing and balance, thousands of these hairs help convert sound vibrations into nerve impulses which are decoded by the brain.

Ageing, noise and general wear and tear make them wither away and, until now, there was no way of replacing them.


This is great news. I had no Idea that these little hairs were so important for the hearing process. I hope this can be perfected, I know it would raise the quality of life for many individuals and families alike.




posted on May, 22 2010 @ 10:57 PM
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Great find! Indeed this is quite a significant breakthrough. This is just the beginning, stem cells have so much potential...just look at this if you don't believe me...

Peter has a Stroke...goes to the stem cell clinic..and wahlah



[edit on 5/22/2010 by UberL33t]



posted on May, 22 2010 @ 10:59 PM
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Very good news.

Tinitus is thought to be caused by loss of inner ear hair fibers as well. I might get rid of these damned crickets before I die.

[edit on 5/22/2010 by Phage]



posted on May, 22 2010 @ 11:00 PM
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Another positive breakthrough?! I'm not used to seeing good news on ATS I need a moment to compose myself...

Not many other applications as far as I can see but if it can help just 1 person to regain their sense of hearing then I suppose it would have been worth it.

Good work for bringing this to my attention TV

Remain Vigilant



posted on May, 22 2010 @ 11:14 PM
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i seriously cried tears of joy upon reading this.


as one who suffered hearing loss for a long time, and had to undergo multiple surgeries, i am so happy that they achieved this. i know some ATS members who are deaf that could benefit from this, and also family members.

people can benefit from this greatly. stem cells are a good thing.

when i was little, i was so introverted because i could not hear others, and i eventually just gave up. but when we found out that there were prosthetic middle ears that we could get implanted, we got that surgery right away. i am now a very social person. if that little bit could help me that much, imagine what this could do for those that are completely deaf.



posted on May, 22 2010 @ 11:17 PM
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reply to post by TV_Nation
 


---------------------------------------

Great find! S & F.

Thanks!



posted on May, 22 2010 @ 11:42 PM
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Originally posted by TV_Nation
www.impactlab.com...



A cure for deafness could be on the horizon after scientists created specialised ear cells in the lab. Grown in their thousands, the delicate hairs could one day be transplanted into the inner ear, restoring hearing to millions.



The breakthrough comes after ten years of painstaking research.

It may also allow some balance disorders to be eased and aid the search for drugs to prevent people from becoming hard of hearing.

Age-related hearing loss affects half of Britons aged 60 and over and there is currently no way of holding it at bay.

Hearing aids amplify sounds but nothing can give sufferers back the hearing they once had.

In the latest research at Stanford University, California, scientists perfected turning stem cells – blank cells which can turn into other cell types – into the delicate hairs found in the inner ear.

The linch-pin of hearing and balance, thousands of these hairs help convert sound vibrations into nerve impulses which are decoded by the brain.

Ageing, noise and general wear and tear make them wither away and, until now, there was no way of replacing them.


This is great news. I had no Idea that these little hairs were so important for the hearing process. I hope this can be perfected, I know it would raise the quality of life for many individuals and families alike.


Notice the bold words in the quote. Reference the actual article abstract.

n mammals, the permanence of hearing loss is due mostly to the incapacity of the cochlea to replace lost mechano-receptor cells (i.e., hair cells [HCs]). The generation of new HCs from a renewable source of progenitors is a principal requirement for developing a cell therapy within this sensory organ. A subset of stem cells, termed side population (SP), has been identified in several tissues of mammals. The ATP-binding cassette transporter Abcg2/Bcrp1 contributes to the specification of the SP phenotype and is proposed as a universal marker for stem/progenitor cells. A defining character of these SP cells is a high efflux capacity for Hoechst dye. Here, we demonstrate that Abcg2 transporter is expressed with two other stem/progenitor cell markers (i.e., Nestin and Musashi1) in distinct and overlapping domains of the supporting cells within the postnatal cochlea. We have developed and describe a fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) technique that enables the purification of a discrete subpopulation of SP-supporting cells from the early postnatal mouse cochlea based on their ability to exclude Hoechst dye. These FACS-isolated cells can divide and express markers of stem/progenitor cells such as Abcg2, a determinant of the SP phenotype, and Musashi1, a neural stem/progenitor cell marker. These markers can differentiate cells expressing markers of HCs and supporting cells in vitro. Our observation that these SP cells are capable of differentiating into HC-like cells implies a possible use for such cells (i.e., the replacement of lost auditory HCs within damaged cochlea).

Abstract link:www3.interscience.wiley.com...
For 1 this was done in a mouse.

2. lets hope they try this procedure first with adult HUMAN stem cells.
3. If embryonic stemcells are used "and they actually work" you can thank that person that youll never meet that once was.

In reference to number 3 to date embryonic stem cells are a pipe dream dripping in blood and money
.

trying to accurately edit post so that the bolds and what not are eye popping enough :9 sorry for my failure

[edit on 22-5-2010 by SiKFury]

[edit on 22-5-2010 by SiKFury]



posted on May, 22 2010 @ 11:59 PM
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reply to post by SiKFury
 

In reference to #3

Using slivers of the patient’s skin as a source of the stem cells means that any hairs generated would be a perfect match for their body.

It also raises the tantalising possibility of creating drugs to coax the ear into growing more hair cells of its own accord.

www.impactlab.com...



posted on May, 23 2010 @ 12:00 AM
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reply to post by SiKFury
 


So you are dismissing this discovery due to the word could being used?

They would have to complete the procedure on a human before they can make any concrete statements on whether they can be used to cure deafness.

Give them some time I'm sure that the people involved in this project know a lot more about how these hairs work then you or I.



posted on May, 23 2010 @ 12:07 AM
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reply to post by Phage
 


If the same technique can be applied to human cells , within ten years it may be possible to transplant-the delicate hairs to restore hearing.

www.impactlab.com...

This all though very promissing im not trying to kill the buzz here as i have family members taht could benefit.

The media and even scientist themselves are horribly guilty of sensationalizing their theories in order to get money/ change legislation / gain notoriety on the hopes of desperate people.

Lets keep supposed breakthroughs in perspective.



posted on May, 23 2010 @ 12:08 AM
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Being deaf this really interests me however as SiKFury pointed out, not all causes of deafness are the lack of these hairs that detect vibrations- and I don't know why I'm deaf- I'm the only one in my family to be deaf- and there could be other causes unfortunately, maybe genetics, maybe toxins or sickness, maybe the inner ear is just undeveloped or damaged.

Stem cells are extremely promising now that you don't need to take it from fetuses or babies anymore. 'They've' got no reason to ban the research or treatment of it anymore


It'll be a very long time before this tech trickles down to the poor people of the world who are deaf though.



posted on May, 23 2010 @ 12:15 AM
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reply to post by TV_Nation
 

Im not dismissing it out of hand. However the scientific community more often than not now adays likes to shout from the rooftops every time they think they MAY have found something that COULD do something beneficial to humanity.

After all the hand waving and dancing around they still suspect at least 10 years away with no promise of actually fixing said problem. If you want funding frigging ask for it. Might as well run an add right after american idol for funding. If you science checks out i doubt you wont get funding.

This circus parade of miracle cures that are "right around the corner" are getting old.

Show us the science thats all Im asking. This glitzing up is getting old.



posted on May, 23 2010 @ 12:19 AM
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Of course this will be allowed.. There is not much money to be made off of deaf people.

Now if this was a cure for cancer, someone would get a heart attack, and be related to terrorists..

Good news nonetheless, this, along with the current solutions to blindness could be a great help, and also to the older folks who are losing their senses. (no pun intended)



posted on May, 23 2010 @ 12:23 AM
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reply to post by SiKFury
 

I don't see any hand waving. I don't see any dancing around. I see you contradicting yourself.

If the same technique can be applied to human cells , within ten years it may be possible to transplant-the delicate hairs to restore hearing.


There was a breakthrough. Something was done that has never been done before. Nowhere is anyone saying a cure for deafness is assured. Nowhere is anyone saying it's around the corner. It all looks pretty restrained to me.



posted on May, 23 2010 @ 12:59 AM
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reply to post by Phage
 


All i can say is maybe one of us is the pessimist and one the optimist. I know we are reading the same article. Similar claims have been made 10 times over 10 times a year. More often then not they are sensationalist claims by people who happen to hold varying degrees in their respected medical/scientific fields that are underfunded or want their name by the new miracle drug/therapy that just doesnt cut it at the end of the day.

Some examples of the hand waving.

If the same technique can be applied to human cells , within ten years it may be possible to transplant-the delicate hairs to restore hearing.



First they are basically guessing "educated mind you" IF human cells can work the same way they can help certain hearing loss. Lets put an arbitrary time line a far stretch into the future "out of site out of mind" to curb the right now people.

It also raises the tantalising possibility of creating drugs to coax the ear into growing more hair cells of its own accord.

They have switched from cell therapy to drug therapy in short fashion. A simple one sentence break. If they have a paper written up on this part i cant seem to find it.

Im glad you called attention to item #3. Its good to see people using your outside options before delving into the gray area.

However maybe its a difference in perception when it comes down to it. Ill leave it at that.



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