Using nerve cells grown from human embryonic stem cells, researchers report that they restored hearing in deaf gerbils.
About 80 percent to 90 percent of deafness is due to problems with the cells in the inner ear, explained senior study author Marcelo Rivolta, a reader in sensory stem cell biology at the University of Sheffield, in England.
Researchers transplanted progenitor cells into about a dozen gerbils that had auditory nerve damage. Ten weeks after transplantation, brain wave measurements showed the gerbils could hear again.
The study is online in the Sept. 12 issue of Nature.
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