Could Embryonic Stem Cells Cure Deafness?

This should give hope to the folks who back the use of ESCs

Scientists have announced a “major breakthrough” in attempts to find a cure for deafness after the cells vital for hearing were grown in a laboratory.

Early versions of the sensory hair cells and the brain cells that enable hearing have been made from stem cells derived from the human inner ear.

Scientists hope that further work will lead to functional cells that could be implanted into the ears to treat total hearing loss. The team has now started the next stage of research on animals. Any practical treatments for deafness are believed to be at least a decade away but the cells could also provide useful research tools for studying the causes of deafness and testing new drugs.

Stem cells are immature cells, mostly found in embryos and foetuses. Those used in the new research were isolated from the developing cochleas of discarded human foetuses aged nine to 11 weeks.

Getting beyond the fanciful and misleading information about where stem cells are found, the story is missing one part: what happens during the trials on animals? So far, the majority of clinical tests with ESCs result in teratomas, ie, monster tumors. The ESCs may fix the initial problem, but, create way too many others. But, the supporters of ESC research, who seem to be comprised of those who want government money, want to use this research as a way of keeping abortion legal and widespread, and here in the US, those who are against everything Bush (regarding his restrictions on using federal money for ESC research,) not to mention those who live in their own fantasy land (and usually believe global warming is primarily or solely Man’s fault,) will ignore the complete failure of ESC research.

But, did you know that this kind of research has already been in the works, using stem cells from adult bone marrow, for years?

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