Sunday, January 13, 2013

New drug may cure deafness

Being able to hear is governed by the nervous system, by gathering input from the ears and turning it into information regarding our surroundings in the brain. Because we need the nervous system to hear, any damage to the ear or the hearing process can be permanent. The delicate cells of the ear and the nervous system are hard to repair, which is why deafness can rarely be cured. However, a new drug may change that, by allowing for repair of the sensory cells in the ear.

The novel drug was developed by scientists working at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston and mainly works by blocking a particular enzyme that is active in the ear. This enzyme, called gamma-secretase, is thought to be an inhibiting factor for the growth of those ear cells that help us hear. A class of drugs that is able to inhibit this particular enzyme was previously found, but had not yet been properly tested. However, such drugs were originally thought of as novel therapies for dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease. An animal study was conducted to find out whether such drugs can cure deafness as well.

In order to test the drug, the scientists performed experiments on deaf mice. Because it is known that gamma-secretase inhibitors can have serious side effects in some organs, the drug was directly administered to the site where it is needed: between the middle and inner ear. Results showed that the damaged 'hearing cells' started growing back. But perhaps more importantly, the mice also recovered part of their hearing loss. While the ears were not restored completely, the improvement was big enough to call the treatment a success.

According to the scientists, it is possible to administer the drug in humans by means of a simple injection. If further experiments show that the treatment is safe and effective, then perhaps the first human clinical trials can start. Though this is likely to take a while, as previous studies already showed that gamma-secretase inhibitors can have severe side effects. Scientists first have to establish that this is not an issue when injecting the drug in the ear. 


  1. What a great new discovery for the medical world. Suffering from chronic pain caused by osteoarthritis, I hope to read about a cure for this someday. Many people don't know the pain and what is osteoarthritis or how it affects daily activities. I have faith in science that soon, sufferers will no longer have to be in pain.

  2. Well, I must say this can be a great option if successfully cure the deafness. But as you said it’s not easy to treat deafness as it directly connects to the nervous system and a small mistake can ends the patient’s life. As drugs can cause many other body disorders, I hope this can help people and they can hear again. On the other side I will still suggest hidden hearing aids, as they are great option to cure deafness in people. You can hear correctly with less cost and it’s not even that much dangerous. Further I found below blog very useful, it have all sure and information regarding hearing loss and preventions of hearing loss