Results from the EU-funded BIONIC EAR project will be presented by the European Commission at this years annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB). The meeting opens tonight in San Francisco
The European Union is funding the 4-year BIONIC EAR project with €1.53 million out of a total budget of €2.77 million . BIONIC EAR looks into ways of repairing the inner ear whose hair cells are damaged by trauma, antibiotics or ageing, thus resulting in an irreversible hearing impairment, which affects more than 10 percent of the population. Project partners include the Université de Montpellier II (France), Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute (Sweden), the Institute of Neuroscience of the “Centro Nazionale Ricerche” (CNR) in Milan (Italy) and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland).
The French and Swedish researchers in particular have identified and isolated “progenitor” or adult stem cells from vestibular sensory epithelia (VSE) in mice, which could be differentiated into new sensory hair cells. Electronic stimulation of these cells, connected to the brain, could also help tackle deafness in humans.
Michael Wappelhorst | European Commission
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