Scientists develop method to repair damaged structures deep inside the ear
Researchers have developed a new approach to repair cells deep inside the ear — a potential remedy that could restore hearing for millions of elderly people and others who suffer hearing loss.
The lab study, conducted by scientists at USC and Harvard University, demonstrates a novel way for a drug to zero in on damaged nerves and cells inside the ear. It’s a potential remedy for a problem that afflicts two-thirds of people over 70 years and 17 percent of all adults in the United States.
“What’s new here is we figured out how to deliver a drug into the inner ear so it actually stays put and does what it’s supposed to do, and that’s novel,” said Charles E. McKenna, a corresponding author for the study and chemistry professor at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. “Inside this part of the ear, there’s fluid constantly flowing that would sweep dissolved drugs away, but our new approach addresses that problem. This is a first for hearing loss and the ear. It’s also important because it may be adaptable for other drugs that need to be applied within the inner ear.”
The paper was published April 4 in the journal Bioconjugate Chemistry. McKenna co-authored it with David Jung of Harvard Medical School, among others. It is the latest achievement in USC’s priority program to advance biomedicine, including the recent launching of the USC Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience. The Michelson Center unites USC experts across disciplines to solve some of the most intractable research challenges related to health at the molecular level. The facility will house the new USC Center of Excellence in Drug Discovery, with McKenna as its director.
Caveats for the hearing loss fix
There are caveats. The research was conducted on animal tissues in a petri dish. It has not yet been tested in living animals or humans. Yet the researchers are hopeful given the similarities of cells and mechanisms involved. McKenna says since the technique works in the laboratory, the findings provide “strong preliminary evidence” it could work in living creatures. They are already planning the next phase involving animals and hearing loss.
The study breaks new ground because researchers developed a novel drug-delivery method. Specifically, it targets the cochlea, a snail-like structure in the inner ear where sensitive cells convey sound to the brain. Hearing loss occurs due to aging, working with noisy machines and too many loud concerts. Over time, hair-like sensory cells and bundles of neurons that transmit their vibrations break down, as do ribbon-like synapses, which connect the cells.
The researchers designed a molecule combining 7,8-dihydroxyflavone, which mimics a protein critical for development and function of the nervous system, and bisphosphonate, a type of drug that sticks to bones. The pairing of the two delivered the breakthrough solution, the researchers said, as neurons responded to the molecule, regenerating synapses in mouse ear tissue that led to repair of the hair cells and neurons, which are essential to hearing.
“We’re not saying it’s a cure for hearing loss,” McKenna said. “It’s a proof of principle for a new approach that’s extremely promising. It’s an important step that offers a lot of hope.”
‘Hidden hearing loss’
Hearing loss is projected to increase as the U.S. population ages. Previous research has shown that hearing loss is expected to nearly double in 40 years. Damage to the inner ear can lead to “hidden hearing loss,” which is difficulty hearing whispers and soft sounds, especially in noisy places. The new research gives hope to many hoping to avoid loss of hearing and quality of life.
The Latest on: Hearing loss
via Google News
The Latest on: Hearing loss
- Why do so many people experience hearing loss? It's not just a matter of growing olderon December 11, 2019 at 1:26 pm
I’m one of around three-million Canadians experiencing hearing loss, and among the 50 per cent of that number who are 65 or older. Oh, and I’m not among the only one in six who wear hearing aids.
- FDA clears Cochlear's innovative new Osia® 2 hearing implant systemon December 11, 2019 at 4:00 am
The Osia System is a first-of-its-kind hearing implant system for people with SSD, conductive or mixed hearing loss The system features the new Osia OSI200 Implant that attaches to an osseointegrated ...
- Multiphoton NAD(P)H FLIM reveals metabolic changes in individual cell types of the intact cochlea upon sensorineural hearing losson December 11, 2019 at 3:02 am
An increasing volume of data suggests that changes in cellular metabolism have a major impact on the health of tissues and organs, including in the auditory system where metabolic alterations are ...
- Demand-Supply Scenario of Bone Conduction Hearing Devices Market research to Remain Balanced During the Forecast Period 2017 – 2027on December 11, 2019 at 12:29 am
Bone conduction hearing devices has been in the market since many years as a tool to help the people with hearing loss. Bone Conduction Hearing Devices Market: Drivers and Restraints Global bone ...
- Emerging Growth for Acute Sensorineural Hearing Loss Treatment Market by 2019-2025on December 10, 2019 at 2:21 am
Dec 10, 2019 (AmericaNewsHour) -- The Acute Sensorineural Hearing Loss Treatment Market Report provides a comprehensive analysis of growth trends prevailing in the global business domain. This report ...
- Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet Include Lowering Your Risk of Hearing Losson December 9, 2019 at 10:35 am
When comparing this data with their diets, they found that those who followed Mediterranean diets, as well as the DASH diet—which also includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, poultry, and ...
- 'Life After Deaf' review: A loss of hearing but not hopeon December 9, 2019 at 2:00 am
LIFE AFTER DEAF: My Misadventures in Hearing Loss and Recovery by Noel Holston (Skyhorse, 240 pp., $24.99) Imagine going to bed one night able to hear, then waking up deaf. Noel Holston, a Pulitzer ...
- The Old Guy: On hearing loss in a noisy worldon December 7, 2019 at 7:00 am
Ouch! This also explains why many musicians experience hearing loss and tinnitus as we age and why some are almost stone cold deaf. And everything just seems to be getting LOUDER, due to giant screens ...
- Reversing Hearing Losson December 6, 2019 at 10:54 am
A team led by Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Eye and Ear researchers may bring scientists a step closer to developing treatments that regrow the missing cells that cause hearing loss. In a ...
via Bing News