Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells

22.02.2017

Hearing loss affects 360 million people worldwide according to the World Health Organization. Inner ear sensory cells, called hair cells, are responsible for detecting sound and helping to signal it to the brain. Loud sounds and toxic drugs can lead to death of the hair cells, which do not regenerate, and is the root cause for widespread hearing loss. Until now, it was not possible to promote the generation of sufficient quantities of new hair cells.

In a new paper in Cell Reports, scientists from Brigham and Women's Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Massachusetts Eye & Ear describe a technique to grow large quantities of inner ear progenitor cells that convert into hair cells. The same techniques show the ability to regenerate hair cells in the cochlea.


Generated from a single cell, a large colony of Lgr5 inner ear progenitors cells (green) that are actively dividing (red nuclei) in response to the authors' drug cocktail.

Credit: Will McLean

Humans are born with only 15,000 sensory hair cells in each cochlea, which are susceptible to damage from exposure to loud noises and medications, which can lead to cell death and hearing loss over time.

"Amazingly, birds and amphibians are capable of regenerating hair cells throughout their life, suggesting that the biology exists and should be possible for humans. Intrigued, we decided to explore whether these hair cells could be regenerated," says Jeff Karp, PhD, co-corresponding author and biomedical engineer at BWH.

In order to find out, "we took cochlear supporting cells expressing Lgr5, a marker recently found in stem cells of several organs, and treated them with a drug cocktail that stimulated critical pathways," says Xiaolei Yin, co-lead author on the paper and instructor of medicine at BWH.

The team achieved a >2000-fold increase in Lgr5 progenitor cells and found that these progenitors could generate new hair cells in high yield. The team also demonstrated that this approach could work with cells from mouse, non-human primate, and human tissue.

Importantly, the drug cocktail "generates new sensory hair cells in intact cochlear tissue, which shows promise for a therapy to treat patients with hearing loss," says Karp. This expansion of large populations of Lgr5-expressing cells and their differentiation to hair cells provides a powerful tool for investigating the regenerative biology of hearing, and these drugs should be relevant for clinical application.

To advance this work to patients, Frequency Therapeutics, is developing a novel small molecule approach to treat chronic hearing loss and expects to be in the clinic within the next 18 months.

###

Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) is a 793-bed nonprofit teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School and a founding member of Partners HealthCare. BWH has more than 4.2 million annual patient visits and nearly 46,000 inpatient stays, is the largest birthing center in Massachusetts and employs nearly 16,000 people. The Brigham's medical preeminence dates back to 1832, and today that rich history in clinical care is coupled with its national leadership in patient care, quality improvement and patient safety initiatives, and its dedication to research, innovation, community engagement and educating and training the next generation of health care professionals. Through investigation and discovery conducted at its Brigham Research Institute (BRI), BWH is an international leader in basic, clinical and translational research on human diseases, more than 3,000 researchers, including physician-investigators and renowned biomedical scientists and faculty supported by nearly $666 million in funding. For the last 25 years, BWH ranked second in research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) among independent hospitals. BWH is also home to major landmark epidemiologic population studies, including the Nurses' and Physicians' Health Studies and the Women's Health Initiative as well as the TIMI Study Group, one of the premier cardiovascular clinical trials groups. For more information, resources and to follow us on social media, please visit BWH's online newsroom.

Media Contact

Johanna Younghans
Jyounghans@partners.org
617-525-6373

 @BrighamWomens

http://www.brighamandwomens.org 

Johanna Younghans | EurekAlert!

Further reports about: hair cells hearing loss progenitor progenitor cells sensory hair cells

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Flavins keep a handy helper in their pocket
25.04.2018 | University of Freiburg

nachricht Complete skin regeneration system of fish unraveled
24.04.2018 | Tokyo Institute of Technology

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Getting electrons to move in a semiconductor

25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Reconstructing what makes us tick

25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Cheap 3-D printer can produce self-folding materials

25.04.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>