Science

Gene therapy cures deafness in guinea pigs

A new gene therapy technique has been shown to have potential to cure deafness in guinea pigs, and there are hops that it could eventually be used to treat humans.

A US-Japanese team claims to have succeeded in biologically repairing the hearing of guinea pigs, by promoting the regrowth of crucial hair cells in the cochlea. Following the treatment, the auditory nerves of treated guinea pigs were able to register sounds.

The hair cells act like miniature microphones, helping to capture sound vibrations and translate them into nerve signals so that the brain can interpret them as sounds. The team behind the experiment warn that it’s by no means certain that it can be replicated in humans, but that it is a promising new avenue for future exploration.

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