Hearing loss treated successfully in mice with gene editing

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Scientists are able to disrupt progressive hearing loss in mice via gene editing, according to a study published in Nature Wednesday. The team used CRISPR-Cas9 to cut the mutated gene and substantially improve the chance of hearing.

Why this matters: The technique would have to be proven safe and effective for humans but is a step closer to the goal of being able to offer one-time treatment for certain genetic hearing-loss disorders, according to Altius Institute for Biomedical Sciences' Fyodor Urnov, who was not part of the study. The experiment was done directly in the organ in the animal rather than taking out the cell, manipulating it and reintroducing it back — and may expand the limited scope of editable organs to the ears, he tells Axios.