Restore your hearing with gene therapy

A team of US scientists used gene transfer to produce functioning hair cells in mice that the inner ear needs to interpret sounds.

Team leader John Brigande from Oregon Health and Science University used unborn mice to prove gene therapy can be used to encourage cells to become hair cells reports the BBC.

The results are published in Nature.

Normal hearing involves cochlear hair cells converting sound into electrical signals, which are then transmitted to the brain.

If those cells are damaged – or lost – they can’t be replaced.

The Deaf Association of New Zealand says there were over 204,000 adults with some level of hearing impairment in the most recent survey in 1996, although there was no differentiation in the survey between people with progressive hearing loss and those who can’t hear anything.

However, it’s estimated there are between 2500-7000 people who identify as deaf.

Most people lose their hearing gradually with age - partly because of hair cell loss in the cochlea, while prolonged loud noise exposure also damaged hair cells.

To attempt to treat this loss, gene therapy inserted copies of the relevant gene, Atoh1, into cells via a harmless virus, which then replicated.

Cells with Atoh1 functioned the same as original hair cells.

"This capability is a crucial first step in defining translational therapies to ameliorate the effects of inner-ear disease in humans," the BBC reports the researchers saying.

While transferring the technology to humans is not yet imminent, the research suggests a way to repair a cochlea without electrical or mechanical aids, such as the cochlear implants currently used that bypass damaged hair cells to directly stimulate the auditory nerve.


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my son has severe hearing loss and we are very interested in finding out much more about gene therpy?they can grow nerves in people so it was only a matter of time b4 we could help the hearing impaired.as you know along with hearing loss comes depression low self esteem ect,and my son suffers from all the above and more even self harm,so keep us informed and considered when when you can start on humans and keep up the good work

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Hi webmaster!.
I am from Israel and now teach English, give true I wrote the following sentence: "This also works in conjunction with a twenty four hour air control monitor, which most panasonic air purifiers come equipped with."

Waiting for a reply :(, Theodosia.

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At this point I rather believe a simple massage therapy is more effective in restoring hearing than gene therapy. I saw it happening at <a rel="follow" href="http://www.123chiropractors.com/AZ/">Kansas chiropractors</a> but I never met anyone that's been cured by gene therapy.

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This is really interseting. I wasn't aware that things had progressed this far.

Gene therapy seems like the way of the future if it can deliver these kinds of results safely and without risk.

Great article. Looking forward to more like this in the future.

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Has there been any update to this is been a couple years since it was originally posted? I am currently experiencing major hearing loss and of course I'm looking for options.

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I am truly amazed at the advancements in gene therapy that have occurred over the last few years it is really exciting time in the medical field with these truly miraculous advances.
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