Addressing Hearing Loss with Stem Cells

Along with researchers at Stanford University, stem cell researcher Neil Segil and his laboratory at USC are also investigating ways of addressing hearing loss with stem cells —specifically, by regenerating the very specialized inner ear cells from skin stem cells, and then testing them against thousands of potential drug remedies for hearing loss.

Addressing Hearing Loss with Stem Cells - Organ of Corti cultured for 48 hours in the absence and presence of gamma-secretase inhibitor DAPT.

Organ of Corti cultured for 48 hours in the absence and presence of gamma-secretase inhibitor DAPT. (Image courtesy of the Segil Lab)

Addressing Hearing Loss with Stem Cells

Focusing on the developmental biology of these complex cells, they are aiming to figure out why these sensory cells typically don’t regenerate in humans, while they do in other animals. With that knowledge, they hope to progress towards a drug remedy that not only protects against hearing loss, but also may help regenerate these specialized hair cells in our ears.

 

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