Scientists may have found the solution to lost hearing

This potentially groundbreaking discovery could help millions

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Image: Getty images

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A team of scientists at Harvard Medical school have claimed to have found a way to successfully regenerate the hair cells in the inner ear that enable hearing.

Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists appear to have come up with a new “drug cocktail” of molecules that can regenerate the necessary cells.

They’re now hoping that the study can lay the groundwork for future clinical trials.

“These findings are extremely exciting because, throughout the history of the hearing loss field, the ability to regenerate hair cells in an inner ear has been the holy grail,” said research team led Zheng-Yi Chen, an HMS associate professor, in a statement. “We now have a drug-like cocktail that shows the feasibility of an approach that we can explore for future clinical applications.”

“My colleagues and I frequently are contacted by people with hearing loss who are desperate for effective treatments,” Chen said in the statement. “If we can combine a surgical procedure with a refined gene therapy delivery method, we hope we can achieve our number one goal of bringing a new treatment into the clinic.”

According to the Harvard website, hair cells cannot be regerenated naturally in mammals, meaning that effective hearing loss treatments for humans have eluded medicine, and the loss of hair cells, which can be caused by aging, noise exposure and other factors.

This new development will hopefully offer a solution to address the longstanding limitation.

Chen has gone on to further explain that drug therapy would have to be introduced to the inner ear, in order to regenerate the hair cells.

Before testing the treatment on humans, the researchers are planning to test it on larger animals first.

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