London: In a significant discovery, researchers have used DNA therapy to improve cochlear implant functionality in lab mice that holds great promise for humans with hearing problems.
A team of researchers found that using DNA as a drug - commonly called gene therapy - in laboratory mice may protect the inner ear nerve cells of humans suffering from certain types of progressive hearing loss.
A wide spectrum of people are affected by hearing loss and the way each person deals with it is highly variable.
“We tried to figure out why the mouse was losing cells that enable it to hear. Why did it lose its hearing? The collaborative work allowed us to provide gene therapy to reverse the loss of nerve cells in the ears of these deaf mice,” said professor Karen B. Avraham from Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine.
Along with Yehoash Raphael from University of Michigan, Avraham and doctoral student Shaked Shivatzki created a mouse population possessing the gene that produces the most prevalent form of hearing loss in humans - the mutated connexin 26 gene.
Mice with the mutated connexin 26 gene exhibit deterioration of the nerve cells that send a sound signal to the brain.