Scientists have been able to successfully grow human cochlear cells that can be used to replace faulty cells in people born deaf or with significant hearing loss due to a genetic error.
Working out of the Juntendo University in Tokyo, Japan, the group of scientists are aiming to correct a mutation in a gene called Gap Junction Beta 2, which is responsible for deafness or hearing loss for 1 in a 1000 people. Mutations of this gene are responsible for as many as half the instances of congenital hearing loss.
Professor Kazusaku Kamiya is leading the research for the team in Japan and understandably, he is very excited about the progress of his teams research, suggesting that a therapy could be available within five to 10 years.
“We have found a way to make cochlear stem cells. The next step is to find a way to safely inject them into the patient’s ear,” said Mr Kamiya.
What do you think about this medical breakthrough? Should Governments be looking to provide funding to ensure the success of the project?