Chemotherapy is extremely hard on a person’s body and the unexpected side effects can be just as difficult. Hearing loss from chemotherapy is a known side effect, especially from the chemotherapy drug Cisplatin. This drug is toxic to the inner ear which is what leads to hearing loss and often tinnitus as well. One new study shows early, but promising results in reversing hearing loss due to chemotherapy related hearing loss and it is quite an exciting finding.
The study, which was conducted at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, showed an ability to regenerate hair cells within the inner ear to restore hearing in mice. Co-author of the study Jian Zuo, Ph.D., and colleagues used specially bred mice to research how to regenerate auditory hair cells, something mice cannot do and neither can humans. WIth knowledge that some animals naturally posses the ability to regenerate their auditory hair cells, researchers wanted to figure out if gene editing and manipulation could give another animal the same ability. Chicken and fish are able to regenerate their auditory hair cells and researchers used them as the leading example. In order to do this, the scientists used gene manipulation to increase the presence of one gene while getting rid of another gene completely. After this process the adult mice demonstrated the process that happens naturally in chicken and fish, their inner ears took on the appearance of immature hair cells and began producing key proteins of the sensory cells. This outcome gives scientists and researchers hope that this gene editing process could one day be used in people who have experienced hearing loss due to the toxic exposure from chemotherapy. Zuo admits this is just the first of many steps towards regenerating auditory hearing cells in people, but he is hopeful that this study could present a solution for people within the next 10 years.
Technology is constantly improving hearing loss treatment and at Whisper Hearing, our hearing professionals will work with you to find the best treatment for your hearing impairment. To learn more about whether or not a hearing aid may be right for you, schedule an appointment for a hearing test at one of our locations near you! We look forward to helping you regain your hearing and confidence!