Working with mice, University of Iowa scientists and colleagues from Okayama University, Japan, have shown that it is possible to cure a certain type of hereditary deafness by silencing a gene that causes hearing loss.
Richard Smith, M.D., the Sterba Hearing Research Professor in Otolaryngology at the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, described the study as a proof-of-principle experiment, but added that the success may point the way to new treatments for deafness in humans.
"We gave a genetically-deafened mouse interfering RNA that specifically prevents a gene from being expressed that would otherwise cause deafness. By preventing its expression, we prevented the deafness," said Smith who was senior author of the study. "Even though this is in the early stages, it is really exciting because it points to other options for people who have hearing loss other than hearing aids or cochlear implants."
Jennifer Brown | EurekAlert!
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