February 11, 2011Hearing With Your Nose?Nasal Stem Cells May Treat Hearing LossBy Deborah HusoStem cell scientists in Australia type of approach is getting amay have discovered a new way to It has been sufficiently large number of cellstreat hearing loss suffered in early into the cochlea in a way that does demonstrated in a number ofchildhood. And its not with a not do further damage," studyhearing aid or special surgery. In studies that stem cells, such as author Dr. Jeremy M. Sullivan, offact, the answer to hearing loss may olfactory stem cells, dental pulp Johns Hopkins University,be right under our nose, quite stem cells and hair follicle stem explained to AOL Health. "Anotherliterally. important challenge will also be to cells have the ability to determine the mechanisms byThe findings, published in the transform into functional cells which the transplanted cellsjournal STEM CELLS, found that of the nervous system," influence hearing levels."transplanting mucosa-derived stemcells, a form of rapidly renewing Christian Drapeau, chief science Sullivan says tracking studiestissues in the nose, can help officer of Stemtech International suggest that chemical signalingprevent sensorineural hearing loss told AOL Health. may be involved and that theduring its early stages. transplanted cells may release chemical factors that influence theScientists transplanted adult native cells of the cochlea.human nasal stem cells into the stem cells in the spinal cord wasears of mice that exhibited signs of able to restore mobility." Sensorineural hearing loss occurshearing loss. The mice were 4 He says the olfactory stem cells when there is a loss of sensory cellsweeks old, the typical age when injected in the cochlear cavity could in the cochlea, a sensory organhearing loss in mice first becomes help reverse or protect located in the inner ear thatapparent. Dr. Sharon Oleskevich, sensorineural hearing loss in the enables hearing. This condition canlead study author from the Hearing same kind of way. arise during infancy or childhoodResearch Group at The University and is most commonly due toof New South Wales, said her "Examination of hearing levels one genetic causes.research team found improvements month post-surgery demonstratedin hearing function one month later that hearing thresholds in stem "Hearing impairments that arisewhen compared against cell-transplanted mice were during infancy and childhood canage-matched mice that received significantly lower than those of lead to marked deficits in speechplacebo injections. mice that received a placebo and language acquisition, as will as injection, indicating that hinder cognitive and psychosocial"It has been demonstrated in a transplanted mice were better able development," said Oleskevich. Shenumber of studies that stem cells, to hear less-intense sounds," believes the results of this latestsuch as olfactory stem cells, dental Oleskevich told AOL Health in an study may eventually lead topulp stem cells and hair follicle e-mail. development of a new treatmentstem cells have the ability to for early-onset sensorineuraltransform into functional cells of Doctors and researchers are hearing loss.the nervous system," Christian optimistic their research couldDrapeau, chief science officer of impact future treatments of Drapeau agrees but indicatesStemtech International, told AOL hearing loss. further study is necessary,Health. "For example, in animal particularly with regard tostudies, injection of hair follicle "As the cochlea is a very sensitive potential complications with the organ, the major challenge to this treatment.