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OCT

Posted on Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Gene Therapy on Mice for Human Hearing Loss

Severe hearing loss is experienced by a majority of people over 65 and is also the number one birth defect. Researchers have found that a majority of this hearing loss is due to a genetic mutation That's why researchers are seeking a way to prevent hearing loss by using mice to discover the benefits of targeted gene therapy.

A genetic mutation that inhibits an enzyme that protects the ear from destructive proteins is thought to cause a vast majority of hearing loss. Without protection, the hair cells and nerves within the inner ear can be destroyed. This destruction might be, in part, due to the lack of nutrients that circulate through the inner ear. Now researchers in Tel Aviv are altering the genes of mice in order to prevent hearing loss. The objective is to vary a gene in order to provide protection to these nerve cells within the inner ear.

The results of the gene therapy on mice have shown that injecting a virus with a special gene into the ear helps protect the hearing nerve and can stimulate regeneration of hair cells. This gene therapy trials in mice haas thus proven successful and human trials will son be underway. In fact, according to an article on ScienceDaily, "While the research is in its early stages, it has the potential to lead to a cure for some varieties of deafness."

Below is a video that shows how this therapy might one day work.

If you'd like to learn more, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

References

American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "From mouse ears to human's? Gene therapy to address progressive hearing loss." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 March 2014. .

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