In a research the scientist have found that stem cells from tiny embryos can be used to restore lost hearing and vision in animals. This, they believe is a first step towards helping people.
One team repaired hearing in guinea pigs using human bone marrow stem cells, while another grew functioning eyes in tadpoles using frog cells.
The findings help describe some of the most basic biological processes underlying the development of hearing and sight The new insight may help in the development of the new field of regenerative medicine.
Stem cells have an immense potential to treat a wide range of deadly and disabling diseases that affect millions.
Researchers have used mesenchymal stem cells from human bone marrow to restore hearing in guinea pigs whose hearing had been destroyed using chemicals.
They grew the stem ells into neuron-like cells in lab dishes and then transplanted them into the inner ears of the guinea pigs. Three months later, the animals appeared to have some hearing.
Their goal was to regrow the tiny hair cells that essential for mammals to hear, although she is not sure yet how the stem cells made this happen.
There is a very large potential for likely use of this results if it could be extrapolated in humans. As we age, sensitive hair cells in the inner ear of humans are killed-by loud noise, autoimmune attack, toxic drugs, or aging process itself. As we lack the capacity to regenerate, the damage caused by these processes is permanent.
In a similar study researchers from SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York have grown functioning eyes in blinded frog embryos using stem cells.