Scientists find cure for certain deafness

IOWA CITY, Iowa, July 27 (UPI) -- Scientists from the University of Iowa and Japan's Okayama University have shown it's possible to cure a certain type of hereditary deafness.

Dr. Richard Smith -- research professor in otolaryngology at UI's, Carver College of Medicine -- described the study as a proof-of-principle experiment, but said the success may point the way to new treatments for deafness in humans.


"We gave a genetically-deafened mouse interfering RNA that specifically prevents a gene from being expressed that would otherwise cause deafness," said Smith, the study's senior author. "By preventing its expression, we prevented the deafness.

"Even though this is in the early stages, it is really exciting because it points to other options for people who have hearing loss, other than hearing aids or cochlear implants."

The study, which was published in the June 15 issue of Human Molecular Genetics, was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

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