Saturday, May 15, 2010

Stem Cells to Restore Your Hearing, Your Heart, Your Teeth

Stanford University researchers have developed a way to grow replacement "hair cells" for the inner ear, in mice. The hair cells are responsible for hearing, and the cumulative loss of hair cells over a lifetime result in permanent hearing loss. If humans could learn to regenerate the hair cells in the inner ear, hearing loss could be reversed without the need for electronic devices such as cochlear implants or hearing aids. Source via Brian Wang

Geron scientists have demonstrated the safety of GRNCM1 (cardiomyocites or stem cells) for replacing damaged heart tissue. This treatment, once approved, is likely to be used to treat chronic heart failure -- a significant cause of death and disability worldwide.
Source 1 (via Brian Wang), Source 2

Columbia University researchers are developing a method for growing replacement teeth "in place", inside the actual socket of the lost tooth. The method utilises stem cells to re-grow the tooth along with accompanying soft tissue support. This approach will do away with the need to use hardware implants, or to grow teeth outside the body in culture media.
Source via Brian Wang

The re-growth of body organs in place -- using the original tissue matrix as a scaffolding -- is a safer approach than re-growing organs outside the body, then surgically implanting them. Both approaches will probably become common, but in circumstances where in situ stem cell replacement is effective, most persons will likely opt for that approach.



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