Inner ear cells have been created in lab

14 05 2010

Hearing could be restored to deaf people using artificially grown ear cells. Scientists have created specialised ear cells in the lab for the first time.

A team from California’s Stanford University were led by Professor Stefan Heller. They have found a way of creating, in a petrie dish, the hair cells within the ear which detect vibrations and convert them into sound. This cure for deafness may be only ten years away. Fancy it?

Further details on the story can be found here.



15 responses

14 05 2010
speak up librarian

Fascinating. I think I would try it.

14 05 2010

I’m kind of interested in this too, but I’m sure it would turn my world upside down. It’d be so different, being deaf is all I know! How would I sleep like a baby through storms like I’ve done in the past? How would I tune out the audience when I’m doing a snowboard competition? Would I still qualify for the Deaflympics if they put my event in there?

14 05 2010

I just read the article you linked to- I like how they say “Aiming to cure deafness” like it’s a disease or something. It’s not a disease! I see it as another trait someone has, like the color of their hair. There is nothing wrong with being deaf, we’re just in a world that’s not made for us.

14 05 2010

Cochlear hair deterioration is a major deafening factor in people acquiring deafness, so anything that alleviates or ‘cures’ that I’m happy with, if it worked I’d be first in the que for it. Perhaps your perception of ‘deafness’ is it doesn’t matter, however if you acquire it, it is ALL that matters, and you want rid of it. Just because some would want that, doesn’t mean we don’t want you. It would help to stop internalising and taking other people’s choices as a personal affront, the fact you can’t hear, it obviously bothers you more than you are saying, that you have to defend it so strongly. No-one is asking you to take a cure..

15 05 2010

“They really looked like they were more or less taken out of the ear.”

Cool! I wish they would hurry up tho.

Lauren, technically deafness is a disease. But, in reality, it isn’t for some people. Unfortunately being able to hear is one of mechanism of a human body. Fortunately it is, tho. Dunno if I made sense but, I hope I did. 😉

15 05 2010

Hearing is essential to immerse yourself in the world. And what is the alternative? living like a hermit, going down to your local deaf club once a month? relying on lip-reading and guess estimating along with the deaf nod?
Asking family and the state to support you?

15 05 2010

living like a hermit? geez. If hearing people live with deaf people without ASL,they would live like a hermit too. Quit trying to make Hearing superior to being deaf. And what’s wrong with support and acceptence? everyone have their differences that need support from others. It’s call humanity.

I’m deaf, and I love silent, American Sign Language, vibrations, and being visual. They are just as beautiful as hearing sounds. I do not want to be fixed.

15 05 2010

another thing, hearing people can be very judgemental toward your level of hearing and speech. I want to be free from that, therefore, I do not want to have anything to do with people with that type of mindset. I don’t want to cater them by being cure.

15 05 2010

These announcements along with stem cells to restore deafness are popping up all over the globe like Jack-in-the-boxes.
What it really means is the researchers at the Universities are saying “Look Sponsors” “This is what we are doing with your money. See our research is bearing fruit. Send more money.”
For those who need new cochlea hair cells, we’re a good 15-20 years out before the procedure passes FDA, etc.
Remember Prof. Marcello Rivolta at Sheffield Univ? Look how that turned out.
Jack-in-the-box. Yup.

16 05 2010

Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

Thumbs up, and keep it going!


17 05 2010

Very nice posts here. I agree with Lauren that thetre is a widespread insessitivity in terminology used when referring to HL. Deafness is no different than blindness or loss of a leg. It can be caused by disease or injury (not always of course) but is just another facet of human diversity. Sure, I’d like to have perfect eyesight if / when new retinal cells can successfully be implanted in my eyes so they function at 20/20. And yes, perfect hearing might be nice too. We live in a world customized for the majority. Try navigating around with eyes taped shut.
The “Hair cell regrowth” idea has been around just about as long as the concept of HL being due to hair-cell damage. Successful implantation has even been done in animal models , but no one knows what the animals hear. The interesting thing about the Stanford report is the “more or less ” disclaimer that Candy pointed out above.
We really are a long, long way off from an acceptable treatment for humans. There are some technical challenges, but safety issues are overwhelming at this point. Scientists just don’t know enough about what undesirable genetic information may come along with the newe hair cells,etc, etc.
One can always take the cynical view that these publications are marketing and financial recruitment tools. That is undeniably a function. But it is also a standard way of sharing research work. Peer review is essential for acceptance of any scientific claim. The US Government, NIH, and many private foundations do require findings of any research they fund to be shared. By the way, when I was a kid I thought that little spring-loaded Golliwog popping out of the box was a pretty scary thing. Hmmmm. Could be in this case too.

21 05 2010

If it was something that I could have to have my hearing levels I’ve lost back. I’d take it!

24 05 2010

You’d have to que behind me lol…….

24 05 2010

Well, Liz and MM, I think this is far in the future and we don’t live that long, do we. I’d rather have a cochlear implant now and have a decent ability to hear NOW, and enjoy life now, instead of waiting in a black hole of silence for something that may not happen and may not even work. Who knows how long the trials may be, even if they reckon it’s do-able in ten years? What happens if they run out of money? Also, I’m not keen on the idea of having an organic thing inside my head, I could end up looking like a cyclops …

21 08 2010

Check my blog regarding stem cells. There’s alot of myths floating around. I can get stem cells overseas anytime im ready.

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