Researchers Differentiate Hearing Cells for First Time

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Discovery makes development of better hearing aids possible

Researchers from the University of Bern and Bern University Hospital have managed for the first time to differentiate human inner ear cells in a laboratory from somatic progenitors and to investigate their origin. This will make it possible to develop new treatment methods for hearing impairment in the future.

In general, hearing loss has far-reaching implications for society as a whole. About 5 percent of the world’s populations suffers from some degree of hearing impairment. Hearing loss in adults alone ranks among the five largest disease burdens in Europe and generates enormous socioeconomic costs. Hearing ability can be improved with hearing aids or cochlear implants, but to this day there is no causal treatment for hearing impairments.

A group of researchers from the Department for BioMedical Research (DBMR) at the University of Bern and the University Department of Ear, Nose, Throat (ENT), Head and Neck Surgery at Bern University Hospital has now made a big step towards establishing new methods that will serve for the developing new therapy of hearing impairment.

For the first time they managed to imitate the development of human “hair cells”, which are responsible for sound reception in the inner ear, in-vitro (in the laboratory). As a result, in the future it will be possible to try out new pharmacological treatment directly on human cells. The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.

SOURCE: Medical News

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Rob Senior
Rob Senior

Rob has 15 years of experience writing and editing for healthcare. He previously worked for ADVANCE from 2002 to 2012.

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