Restoring the Damaged Sound-Detecting Ear Cells might be possible

Researchers from John Hopkins have found proteins that might restore damaged sound-detecting cells in the human ear.


Science writing intern Vandana Suresh from the Johns Hopkins Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences. wrote, “using genetic tools in mice, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine say they have identified a pair of proteins that precisely control when sound-detecting cells, known as hair cells, are born in the mammalian inner ear. The proteins, described in a report published June 12 in eLife, may hold a key to future therapies to restore hearing in people with irreversible deafness. 

“Scientists in our field have long been looking for the molecular signals that trigger the formation of the hair cells that sense and transmit sound,” says Angelika Doetzlhofer, Ph.D., associate professor of neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “These hair cells are a major player in hearing loss, and knowing more about how they develop will help us figure out ways to replace hair cells that are damaged.””

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