Researchers at the University of Sheffield have created the complex hair cells and the neurons needed for hearing from human stem cells.
They found they could encourage stem cells from the inner ears of human foetuses to grow into these highly specialised hearing cells.
The scientists hope they will eventually be able to use the cells to perform cell transplants in deaf patients to replace the hair cells and neurons that are damaged in a form of deafness known as sensorineural hearing loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss one of the most common forms of deafness, accounting for 90 per cent of cases and
Researchers from A*STAR Singapore took lead roles in a study that identified a portion of the genome mutated during long-term culture of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). The study was a worldwide collaboration, led by Drs Peter Andrews of the University of Sheffield (UK), Paul Robson of the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS), Steve Oh of Singapore’s Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI), and Barbara Knowles and others in the international stem cell community. The GIS, IMB and BTI are research institutes under the umbrella of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, (A*STAR), Singapore.
Involving 125 ethnically diverse hESC lines originating