Scientists Develop New Drug That Can Reverse Permanent Deafness

Scientists Develop New Drug That Can Reverse Permanent Deafness
World

In an astonishing breakthrough, scientists have developed a drug that could potentially cure what was once thought to be permanent deafness.

The drug, codenamed LY411575, triggers the regeneration of sensory hair cells and stimulates the inner ear.

This is the first time the restoration of cells lost due to noise exposure, infection and toxic drugs has been possible.

The deafness that is often suffered by rock musicians and DJs was once thought to be irreversible.

Scientists succeeded in partially restoring hearing to mice that had been deafened by loud noise.

While the research is at an early stage, they do believe the restoration of human hearing due to noise exposure will be possible.

The tiny sensory hairs in the cochlea are vital to hearing. Sound vibrations transferred from the eardrum shake the hairs, causing nerve messages to be fired to the brain.

Without the hairs, the pathway would be blocked and hearing would be impossible.

The new method involves reprogramming inner ear cells by inhibiting a protein called Notch.

Notch signals help prevent stem cells in the cochlea from transforming into new sensory hair cells.

The drug LY411575 suppresses Notch. Mice with noise-induced hearing loss generated functioning sensory hair cells after the drug was injected into their damaged cochleas.

“We show that hair cells can be regenerated from the surrounding cells in the cochlea,” said lead researcher Dr. Albert Edge, from Harvard Medical School


“These cells, called supporting cells, transdifferentiate into hair cells after inhibition of the Notch signalling pathway, and the new hair cell generation results in a recovery of hearing in the region of the cochlea where the new hair cells appear.

“The significance of this study is that hearing loss is a huge problem affecting 250 million worldwide.”

Details of the study are reported in the journal Neuron.

“The missing hair cells had been replaced by new hair cells after the drug treatment, and analysis of their location allowed us to correlate the improvement in hearing to the areas where the hair cells were replaced,” added Dr. Edge.

“We’re excited about these results because they are a step forward in the biology of regeneration and prove that mammalian hair cells have the capacity to regenerate. 


“With more research, we think that regeneration of hair cells opens the door to potential therapeutic applications in deafness.”

Vivienne Michael, chief executive of the charity Deafness Research UK, is excited about the new findings, but not jumping to any conclusions just yet.

“As always, we have to be cautious about new research findings but this US research is extremely encouraging,” she said.

“At the moment there is no way of reversing eight in 10 cases of hearing loss, including noise-induced deafness and the progressive deafness so many of us experience as we age – hearing aids are the only answer.

“These results show just how important it is to increase the investment in research into medical treatments that could prevent or reverse hearing loss and improve the quality of life for the millions of people affected.”

James Gilbert | Elite.

Share Tweet
React
Like Us On Facebook
Like Us On Facebook

James Gilbert

World news writer James Gilbert is one of the oldest on the Elite Daily writing staff, as he is a borderline Gen Y member. Being considered the dinosaur of the group, he is constantly asked about historical time periods he did not actually live through. All and all, James Gilbert brings that dynamic and balance to the team, rounding out Elite Daily’s Voltron (or that thing the Power Rangers formed for you young whippersnappers.)

More In World

World Sean Levinson

Forget Raving, MDMA Is Helping War Veterans Cope With Their PTSD

Tony Macie is one of the many Iraq veterans who returned home with post traumatic stress disorder. Doctors gave him anti-depressants but, as usual, they were no use. Thankfully, Tony is very open-minded and had heard of alternative methods of combating PTSD being experimented on in the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). Those are […]

World Katie Gonzalez

This Anti-Bullying Commercial Means Well But Completely Misses The Mark

Er… this anti-bullying PSA might prove that sometimes, something that is well-intentioned can still fail to deliver. The commercial, produced on behalf of VH1 by advertising agency Del Campo Saatchi & Saatchi, attempts to show how bullying is bad, and the ways in which students can cope after they’ve been victimized by the school’s biggest […]

Also On Elite

Music News

This Guy Turned Down A $98,000 Offer For His Signed Yeezy ‘Red Octobers’

What’s the deal with sneaker reselling, you ask? Apparently, cold, hard cash. As far as valuation goes, it looks like Carrie Bradshaw isn’t the only New Yorker with expensive taste in footwear. While dropping a dime on designer shoes is nothing mindblowing, the fact that one individual turned down a $98K offer is off-the-charts outrageous. […]

Envision

This 600-Foot Leap Of Faith Rope Swing Is Not For The Faint Of Heart (Video)

If you’re into high-intensity, risky stunts, you’ll love watching this awesome footage of a bunch of daredevils rope swinging in South Africa. The video was shot specifically by the Magwa Falls so there were many different things happening around each of these rope swingers as they glided through the air. The fall was about 600 […]

World

A Passenger Tried To Jump Out Of A Plane’s Emergency Exit Mid-Flight

A Southwest Airlines jet flying from Chicago to Sacramento was forced to make an emergency landing on Sunday when a passenger tried to exit the plane mid-flight through an exit door. According to The New York Daily News, witnesses said a male passenger began exhibiting odd behavior shortly after the flight took off at 10:49 […]