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May 08, 2013

Gene therapy gives mice their hearing back

Restored hearing in mice may in the future lead to a treatment for certain forms of hearing loss in humans.

Gene therapy gives mice their hearing back

Drugs may some day in the future cure or reduce noise-induced hearing loss. A study in mice conducted by researchers from Harvard Medical School in the US has managed to restore hearing in mice that have been deafened by loud noise.

The mice were injected with a drug (LY411575) in the ear. The mice with damaged hearing were able to grow new hair cells in the inner ear and these new hair cells partially restored their hearing.

Lead researcher Dr. Albert Edge from Harvard Medical School said “We have shown that hair cells can be regenerated from the surrounding cells in the cohlea”.

Gene against Usher's syndrome

Researchers from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago in the US have been able to restore hearing in profoundly deaf mice. They focused on a gene called USH1C that is associated with the “Type 1” form of Usher’s Syndrome.

Usher's Syndrome is a disease that affects both hearing and sight. Around one-in-7,000 babies are born with Usher’s Syndrome.

Specialist in neurodegenerative diseases, Dr. Henry Paulson from University in Michigan in the US, finds the results from Rosalind Franklin University very promising. But he also said:

“Curing a mouse is quite different from curing a human.”

Sources: www.washingtonpost.com, www.sciencenews.com, www.mirror.co.uk  and www.health24.com

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