Scientists believe they are on the brink of a cure for congenital deafness.
Researchers have produced stem cells to correct the hereditary defect. They have found a way of growing human cochlear cells which can be used to replace faulty ones in people deaf from birth due to a genetic error.
Professor Kazusaku Kamiya, a specialist in ear diseases who is leading the research…said: “I am very excited by what we have done…It is possible a therapy could be available within five to 10 years.”
Hereditary hearing loss is often caused by a genetic mutation in the hair cells of the ear, which are found in the inner ear, or cochlea, and are the sensory receptors of sound.
Patients with this condition are currently treated with an artificial cochlear implant, which helps transfer sound to the patient’s hearing nerves.
Many scientists believe stem cells could offer a better solution by restoring the normal function of the hair cells and, as a result, the patient’s hearing.
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