Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Promising Stem Cell Research

Scientists at the UK’s University of Sheffield say cochlear stem cells from aborted fetuses may lead to the development of ways to regenerate or repair ear cells. They have been able to make them behave like delicate auditory hair cells. This is the first time they've been able to grow them in a lab. Even though human trials are several years away, this could lead to a way to repair damaged ears using these cells. Hair cells bend in response to sound, generating electrical signals that are sent to the brain. The researchers were also able to come up with another recipe that created auditory neurons which serve as a go-between, receiving signals from the hair cells and transmit them to the brain. Details of the study are in the journal Stem Cells.