Course Hero Logo

KU gene therapy holds new hope for restoring hearing | The Kansas City Star.pdf

Course Hero uses AI to attempt to automatically extract content from documents to surface to you and others so you can study better, e.g., in search results, to enrich docs, and more. This preview shows page 1 - 4 out of 7 pages.

HEALTH CAREDECEMBER 2, 2015KU gene therapy holds new hope forrestoring hearingiResearchers at the University of Kansas Hospital are trying to regrow the hair cells of theinner earA clinical trial is being closely watched by hearing researchers worldwideHIGHLIGHTS1 of 2
BY ALAN BAVLEY[email protected]Amanda James first noticed a difference early this year when she picked up a pill bottle atthe Norfolk, Va., pharmacy where she worked and shook it next to her right ear.For the first time, she could hear the pills rattling inside.James, 29, has been hearing impaired ever since she slipped into a swimming pool as atoddler and nearly drowned. The accident starved her of oxygen and obliterated the fragilemicroscopic hair cells of her inner ear that turn the motion of sound waves into nervesignals sent to the brain. She lost almost all the hearing in her right ear, and retained justenough in her left ear to get by with a hearing aid.But after receiving an injection directly into her right inner ear as part of a study at theUniversity of Kansas Hospital, James seems slowly to be regaining some of the hearing shelost.The results so far have been “amazing,” she said. “It’s something new each month. I canhear music. I can hear your voice, but I can’t make out the words yet.”About 36 million American adults have some form of hearing loss. For most, like James,it’s caused by the absence of inner ear hair cells, an impairment called sensorineuralhearing loss. For them, the options have been limited to just a few technological fixes.People who retain some hearing can use hearing aids, sophisticated miniature amplifierstuned to compensate for an individual’s lost sound frequencies. People with profoundhearing loss can get cochlear implants, devices that surgically bypass the inner ear andprovide a limited range of sounds directly to the auditory nerve to the brain.But there has never been a way to actually restore hearing by regrowing the hair cells of theinner ear.That’s where the research at KU comes in. The injection James received contains a genethat researchers hope will promote the growth of new hair cells. It’s had some successrestoring hearing in mice. Now, it’s being tried on a small number of people — the firsttime gene therapy has been used on people to restore hearing.
This clinical trial, which started at KU and has expanded to other medical centers, is beingclosely watched, hopefully but somewhat skeptically, by hearing researchers worldwide. It’samong the highest-profile projects in a field that recently has seen an outpouring of newresearch.Researchers are looking at ways to protect hair cells from being damaged, to grow them inpeople with genetic conditions that leave them deaf at birth and to regrow the hair cells ofpeople whose hearing has been impaired. Their work has caught the interest of drugcompanies trying to turn these findings into new therapies.

Upload your study docs or become a

Course Hero member to access this document

Upload your study docs or become a

Course Hero member to access this document

End of preview. Want to read all 7 pages?

Upload your study docs or become a

Course Hero member to access this document

Term
Spring
Professor
Sawyer
Tags
hair cell, hair cells

Newly uploaded documents

Show More

Newly uploaded documents

Show More

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture