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How to Regenerate the Human Body: Hearing Loss, Baldness, Burn Wounds | Chris Loose

Hearing loss is a growing problem with increased
prevalence, and the reason for this is because evolutionarily humans are not designed to
withstand the assaults of modern society. Interestingly if you look at places like Easter
Island, people maintain normal hearing into old age, but it’s just by living the modern
society where we have subways and cars and cities and iPods that we are overburdening
our hearing and causing a great deal of hearing loss. The origin of hearing loss is often the loss
of what are called sensory hair cells in the cochlea. And these hair cells move in response to sound
and create a signal that gets sent to your brain, and that’s really the origin of hearing. Now what happens with hearing loss is those
delicate hair cells start to die off over time due to external insults from loud noise
or certain types of drugs. When that happens they are not naturally regenerated
in mammals. Interestingly, many species like birds and
reptiles, if you knock out their hair cells and wait a period of time—a month—their
hair cells come back naturally, and they can start hearing again. So this process is hardwired into nature but
mammals just haven’t found a way to turn on the system. With many technologies designed to address
hearing loss, they really just treat symptoms rather than the root cause of the disease,
which is the loss of the hair cell. And the way to think about this is like if
you have a TV screen and you start losing the pixels on the TV screen; essentially what
these aid devices do is they make the screen brighter, but they don’t fundamentally replace
all the pixels that are lost. So it does help to pick up some degree of
signal, but it doesn’t in any way replace that native function of hearing, which is
really our goal of re-growing hair cells and putting those pixels back in place and giving
you that natural hearing. At Frequency we’re focused on an entirely
new mode of medicine and the objective of this is to make your body’s natural stem
or progenitor cells regenerate damaged tissue in place. And this could really transform medicine across
a whole variety of diseases and organs. And where we’ve learned this from is actually
looking at the portions of the human body that are very regenerative. For instance, if you look at the human intestine,
it re-creates itself every five days entirely. And that will actually last until you’re
well over 100 years old, so your body knows how to re-create certain tissues. Our objective is to identify what are the
local signals that cells get from their niche environment that tells them to start to regrow
and start to repair tissue, so we can start turning on the dormant progenitor and stem
cells that exist throughout the body. In order to make good medicines out of that,
we focus on applications where those cells can be activated very selectively and very
locally for a short period of time. That gives you tremendous benefits in terms
of the safety and controllability of reactivating these systems. And our first application is to do this in
hearing loss, where we found that there are dormant progenitors that exist within the
cochlea that in some species have the capacity to regenerate, but in mammals are locked in
an off position and we are simply finding small molecule drugs, traditional drugs that
can go in, turn on those progenitors and re-create hair cells, in this case in the cochlea, to
restore the hearing function. We frequently get asked about the difference
between stem cells and progenitor cells, and while there is debate in the field as to how
to exactly define them I think what’s very important is to recognize the distinction
between your body’s progenitor cells and a pluripotent stem cell. Now a pluripotent stem cell can turn into
any cell in your body. It’s really powerful and really flexible. The advantage of just activating progenitors
in your body is they’re generally most of the way differentiated from that pluripotent
stem cell that can become anything into the final tissue, so they’re really almost locked
into their fate. So when you activate them they generally only
know how to make cells of one or two types, so this gives you a highly controlled system
as opposed to if you’re working with a pluripotent system – there’s more concern about creating
cell types that you don’t desire in a given application. Throughout the body progenitor cells are often
controlled by their neighboring cells, and what tends to happen is there’s a neighboring
cell sitting right next to a progenitor, which is constantly sending signals over to the
progenitor. And this could be saying “continuously divide,”
which is commonly going on in the intestine, or in the cochlea it could be giving a signal
that is saying “stay asleep.” Our science is really to understand: what
are those signals that are being passed? What specific pathways are being activated
by those signals? And then we say, how can we go in with chemicals,
inhibitors or activators to those pathways so we can selectively turn on the signals
to drive growth where and when we want it? We’re very focused on advancing our hearing
loss therapy and this is part of a broader platform we think of as “progenitor cell
activation,” or PCA. And with PCA we think this can be applied
to many tissues where you can understand what progenitor needs to be activated and define
molecules that can activate that progenitor in the right spot. So you can think of many skin diseases that
this could address, everything from wounding to balding to burns, other types of skin pathologies
where regeneration is needed. And by being able to control the growth and
differentiation in the intestinal environment also opens up opportunities to address G.I.
diseases. We see opportunities, as with the ear, in
the eye, another sensory organ that’s plagued with a number of degenerative diseases where
known progenitor cells have been found that could address many of these maladies as well.

Cesar Sullivan

59 thoughts on “How to Regenerate the Human Body: Hearing Loss, Baldness, Burn Wounds | Chris Loose

  1. This all sounds great I'm just worried in the capitalist system most people will not get access to this for a very very very very long time since we've decided that Health costs.

  2. I would venture to say, if you can stay in a quiet area, your ear will return to a normal condition, and if not what foods could supplement for the damage?(like vitamin A and eyes)
    Also, I would claim it is the government's duty to protect it's citizens(work force) by displaying this common knowledge, like using a decibel reader at every occupation. If it's a threatening level according to biological standards, just like a "food grade" for restaurants, it should be in plain sight. Just how the Obama administration's Chinese embassy used the particulate counter and made it available for all to see. Its just data, and rather than the Chinese be easily offended and lash out with feinstein lawsuit, they maturely answered the data and radically changed things for the benefit of all.

  3. While not the same technique, this kind of reminds me of that study on Alzheimer in England where they artificially stimulated stem cell activity in patients brains, only to discover a side effect of their teeth repairing themselves as well(the trial was highly successful btw in itself).
    The mechanics for all this is in our body already, we just need to figure out how to hack it safely to our own advantage.

  4. the reason we are locked in an off position when healing is concerned is because we consume too many carbohydrates. I can't verify this without experiments but I'd say to facilitate natural healing you would need to go into ketosis or a fasted state. the difference between us and animals is that they don't overeat.

  5. Could be a very beneficial path to go down, however I am concerned that promoting so much regeneration in different parts of the body may increase the risk of developing cancer. We need to make sure we can reliably cure cancer before looking into artificially-induced regeneration.

  6. Wow a post that isn't about religion, or how religious people are happier, or why people are religious, or about prayer or faith, …….. A actual video about real tangible issues and progressing technology, about damn time.

  7. I was hoping that the solution would be a portable "cone of silence" device. The utopian city of the future would have very little noise and light pollution IMO.

  8. WHEN?! My grandpa would love to hear properly again and I'm starting to go bald. Please tell me the breakthrough will be soon.

  9. That SOUNDS good.
    "Evolutionarily humans are not "designed" to withstand the assaults of modern society ….." BUT bird and reptiles are??

  10. But you will never heal my mind. Its too late for me now. What have I done. My body recovers from physical pain, but my mind is scarred and withered

  11. As soon as he started talking about what a noisy world we live in, my upstairs neighbor started making lots of banging noises, and I couldn't hear what the video was saying. Now that's what I call a practical demonstration of a point.

  12. I propose an alternative solution: Given all the engineering and mechanical deficiencies, dependencies, and vulnerabilities of biochemistry, develop a replacement without them.

  13. Is it possible to use stem or pluripotent cells to produce enough white blood cells to fight cancer, boosting immuno-therapy?

  14. cool, I didnt know these specifics about hearing loss. I thought aids completely repaired function, I didnt know it was still impaired in clarity.

    Shit I didnt know that about intestines either

  15. 5:43 What do you mean by G.I.? Soldiers? No… Definition, GI, 1: In medicine, commonly used abbreviation for *gastrointestinal*, referring collectively to the stomach and the small and large intestine. 2. Outside of medicine, GI may stand for galvanized iron, general issue or government issue (as in GI Joe). (Source: MedicineNet. articlekey=18594)


  17. This is one of the best videos I´ve seen on youtube in a long time. I hope for more "uh huhm" serious videos like this on BigThink.

  18. This is a million dollar field of research. First person to find this will be well rewarded since the new generation use headphones to destroy their ears. Sorta like I’m doing now lol

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