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A drop of stem cells restores mice’s sense of smell

A team of researchers has restored the sense of smell in a group of mice by grafting stem cells into the rodents’ noses according to new results published in Stem Cell Reports. The stem cells, which are known as “globose basal cells,” are precursors to fully developed olfactory neurons. Once implanted into mice through a simple “nose drop delivery,” the stem cells matured into working neurons and connected to the animal’s brains, restoring their sense of smell, which had been previously rendered nonfunctional by a mutation, The Scientist reports. Whether the treatment will work in humans will likely depend on whether scientists can find a source of similar precursor cells to use for the grafting procedure.

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