Are you suffering from hearing loss? You would be happy to know that there have been a lot of medical advancements in the field of hearing loss treatment. The research in this field is finally bearing fruit. This became once again evident when scientists from Harvard Medical School (HMS) and the Massachusetts General Hospital managed to restore partial hearing and balance in mice born with a genetic condition that affects both. This latest breakthrough in the field of treatment of hearing loss gives much hope to the ever increasing number of people suffering from this disorder. With this revolutionary breakthrough may be there will be a scenario where people will not need hearing aid devices.
What the study was about?
Using a new form of gene therapy, scientists claim that they have been able to restore partial hearing in mice born with the genetic disorder. In this new model a long-standing barrier was overcome in regard to accessing hair cells. These delicate sensors in the inner ear that capture sound and head movement and convert them to neural signals for hearing and balance. These were very difficult to treat with the previous gene delivery techniques.
However under the subject was a major breakthrough since the treatment under it was led to notable gains in hearing and allowed mice that normally would be completely deaf towards hearing an equivalent of a loud conversation. The approach also improved the animal’s’ sense of balance.
The New Study is truly path breaking
The use of this therapy for humans is right now years away. But this type of gene therapy carries the promise that it could restore hearing in people with several forms of both genetic and acquired deafness. On their quest to restore hearing through gene therapy, researchers have long been seeking ways and means for improving gene delivery into hair cells. In the previous approaches, scientists were able only marginally effective as they reached one set of hair cells in the inner ear. But the other subset which is equally critical for hearing was still largely impenetrable. Thus this particular study towards use of gene therapy for restoring hearing loss is in many ways truly path breaking. It gives hope to millions of people worldwide suffering from this problem of loss of hearing.
How this major breakthrough was achieved?
To achieve the desired penetration, researchers made use of the adeno-associated virus (AAV). It had been already been used as a gene-delivery vehicle for retinal disorders. For supercharging the AAV as a gene carrier into the inner ear, the team made use of a form of the virus wrapped in protective bubbles called exosomes. They grew regular AAV virus inside cells. Those cells naturally bud off exosomes – tiny bubbles made of cell membrane – that carry the virus inside them.
In conclusion we can say that with the regular research going through worldwide hearing loss treatments are making rapid progress. In case you are looking for hearing impairment treatment then we at Bengal Speech are the leaders in the field. We have an expert team of audiologists who are extremely competent and are the best in the field. To know more about hearing loss and its treatments follow our blogs.