Improved TMC1 Gene Therapy Restores Hearing and Balance in Mice

Discussion in 'Research News' started by Piney, Apr 17, 2019.

    1. Piney

      Piney Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      March 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shingles virus
      https://hearinghealthfoundation.org...-therapy-restores-hearing-and-balance-in-mice

      By Christopher Geissler, Ph.D.

      Half of all inner ear disorders, which have a negative impact on hearing and/or balance, are caused by genetic mutations. A study published in January 2019 in Nature Communications demonstrates the effectiveness of a gene therapy targeting one specific gene mutation, TMC1 (transmembrane channel-like 1). The research was conducted by Carl A. Nist-Lund in the Harvard Medical School lab of Gwenaëlle S. Géléoc, Ph.D., and Jeffrey R. Holt, Ph.D., with contributions from colleagues including 2017 Emerging Research Grants (ERG) recipient Jennifer Resnik, Ph.D., and her ERG co-principal investigator Daniel B. Polley, Ph.D., both also of Harvard Medical School.

      So far, 35 TMC1 mutations have been identified in humans, including several that are responsible for moderate to severe hearing loss, representing between 3 to 8 percent of cases of genetic hearing loss. This TMC1 gene therapy has had an encouraging level of success in mice and may prove capable of addressing similar genetic mutations in humans in the future.

      Previous studies targeting this gene were only moderately successful in restoring function in inner hair cells, with little or no success in outer hair cells. Both types of hair cell are necessary for hearing.

      The team decided to look at improving the mechanism that encodes TCM1 in affected mice, using a synthetic delivery vehicle they hoped would be more effective than the conventional one used in previous studies. In mice with this TCM1 mutation, hair cells begin to die when the mouse reaches 4 weeks of age. The treated mice in this study showed improved rates of survival in both inner and outer hair cells.

      Most importantly, the improvement in hearing in the mice that received this intervention occurred primarily in the lower frequencies. Human speech is at the low to mid frequency range of the auditory spectrum, so if future human trials are able to replicate the success of this study, speech perception may improve.

      The study additionally provided evidence of improved responses in the brain of the treated mice. This indicates that treatment of the cochlea by injection had knock-on effects in the auditory cortex, the part of the brain that plays an important role in hearing.

      Finally, the team recorded improved balance function in the mice that received the gene therapy. While only very young mice experienced better hearing, even older mice showed improvement in balance. The team writes that this improvement in balance function in mature mice may contribute to eventually developing a way to treat balance disorders in humans.
       
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    2. JohnAdams
      Starving

      JohnAdams Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      here
      Tinnitus Since:
      it started.
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      hearing loss
      CRISPR is also beginning to be used in humans for gene editing, but it will probably be awhile before such treatments become available.
       
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    3. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Piney

      Piney Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      March 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Shingles virus
      So many arrows, and no one is actively hitting the target.
       
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    4. RB2014
      Confused

      RB2014 Member Benefactor

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      12/2014 became noticable
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loss of hearing and then stress and anxiety
      There are so many people that would volunteer for any of this experimentation. Its a shame we have to keep using mice.
       
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