Scientists at Tel Aviv University have developed a gene therapy for children born with genetic mutations that cause hearing loss.
The treatment, which has been tested on mice, delivers healthy genetic material into the cells of the inner ear, which replaces the genetic defect and enables the cell to continue functioning normally. The scientists were able to prevent the gradual deterioration of hearing in mice with a genetic mutation for deafness. Following the successful study, the scientists are developing similar therapies for other mutations that cause deafness.
The study, published in the EMBO Molecular Medicine journal, was led by Prof. Karen Avraham and Shahar Taiber, a student in the combined MD-PhD track, from the Department of Human Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, and the Sagol School of Neuroscience, and Prof. Jeffrey Holt from Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Additional contributors included Prof. David Sprinzak from the School of Neurobiology, Biochemistry and Biophysics at the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences at Tel Aviv University.