Finding an effective method of hair cell treatment is one of the major goals of medical science today.
Our hair cells get damaged with age and too much noise. This process is irreversible for now. Additionally, hair cell sensitivity can get damaged by exposure to chemicals or certain kinds of medication.
Those who have hereditary hearing problems could benefit from hair cell treatment too. It could even bring new experiences to people born with hearing loss.
Possible Approaches to Hair Cell Treatment
Doctors aren’t sure yet about the right way to approach this problem. But here are two treatments that could help repair damaged hair cells:
Stem Cell Therapy
Scientists have been looking for ways to use stem cells to replace badly-functioning hair cells. They plan to simply put stem cells into the inner ear and let them evolve into hair cell replacements.
For now, this treatment is still in the stage of lab experimentations. However, researchers already made promising hair cell replacements in laboratory conditions.
Another approach is to find drugs that can prevent hair cell deterioration or restore hair cell sensitivity.
There is a very promising study done by researchers working at MIT, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts Eye and Ear. Their idea is to develop drugs that will cause so-called supporting cells to change into hair cells. Supporting cells are already in the inner ear. But this drug would make them grow in number and then evolve.
Drugs, stem cells or gene replacement therapy can all be good approaches to hair cell treatment. For now, most research is in the stage of animal testing. But once they are ready for use, these treatments could improve the lives of millions.