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Researchers Use Gene Therapy to Restore Hearing (moved from ATSNN)

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posted on Feb, 14 2005 @ 01:38 PM
Researchers in Michigan have successfully used gene therapy to restore hearing in deaf laboratory guinea pigs. The procedure was performed by inserting a corrective gene into a virus and using the virus to transfer the gene to the guinea pig's ears causing new cochlear hair cells to grow. The advance marks a step towards restoring hearing in millions of humans who have acquired hearing loss.
February 14, 2005 -- Michigan researchers have restored hearing in deaf mammals for the first time, a feat that represents a major step toward the treatment of the 27 million Americans with acquired hearing loss.

By inserting a corrective gene with a virus, the team induced the formation of new cochlear hair cells--the key intermediates in converting sound waves into electrical impulses--in the ears of artificially deafened adult guinea pigs.

They later demonstrated that the animals responded to sounds, according to the study published Monday in the journal Nature Medicine.

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This is a great step forward for people stricken with hearing loss. Hopefully the new technique will work on humans and people with some forms of deafness will have a chance to hear again.

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