Tuesday, 15 January 2013

New drug induces stem cells to become hair cells

A few days ago, a team of scientists from the Harvard Medicine School announced a new drug method that induces hair cell regeneration which in return reverses hearing impairment. Taking into consideration that there are more than 50 million of people in the U.S. alone suffering from some type of hearing loss, their findings can be considered something more than simply important.

The researchers worked on mice with noise-induced hearing loss. After thorough experimentation, they managed to come up with a new drug that induces stem cells of the cochlea to develop into hair cells. The drug works by inhibiting Gamma-Secretase, an enzymic complex consisting of many proteins. The newly developed hair cells were fully functional  and hearing was partially restored to all affected mice.


Graph showing the location of hair cells Section through the spiral organ of Corti.

Unfortunately the new hair cells weren't evenly distributed and could only detect lower pitches. Still the researchers are very excited as this the first time someone successfully regenerates hair cells in a mammalian model. According to them, it opens a new door for treating deaf patients, especially the one suffering from Sensorineural Hearing loss who are usually left with very little options for improving their condition.


Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is a type of hearing impairment that occurs fromdamage to the inner ear (cochlea), or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain. It usually leads to permanent partial or total hear loss. Some common causes of SNHL include: various ilnesses, drug complications, ageing, physical trauma, loud noise exposure and other


Video explaining  what exactly Sensorineural Hearing Loss is



Reference
Mizutari, K., Fujioka, M., Hosoya, M., Bramhall, N., Okano, H., Okano, H., & Edge, A. (2013). Notch Inhibition Induces Cochlear Hair Cell Regeneration and Recovery of Hearing after Acoustic Trauma Neuron, 77 (1), 58-69 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.10.032

1 comment:

  1. if you have pendred syndrome that caused you to be deaf, what could help it

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