The restoration of a lost sense achieved.
1. Li Xincheng is one of several deaf children who scientists in China say are the first people ever to have their natural hearing pathway restored in a dramatic new demonstration of the possibilities of gene therapy. The feat is even more remarkable because until now, no drug of any kind has ever been able to improve hearing. “We were careful, and a little bit nervous, because it was the first in the world,” says Yilai Shu, a surgeon and scientist at Fudan University in Shanghai who is leading the experiment. His team began the treatments last December, and before that he spent years developing the techniques involved, testing gene injections in countless mice and guinea pigs. “That was my project: How do we deliver this to the inner ear?” Shu says. In the US and Europe, gene therapy has been notching successes, including restoring limited vision to people with genetic causes of blindness. Now Shu’s study, in which as many as 10 kids have been enrolled, may be remembered as China’s first domestic gene-therapy breakthrough, as well the most dramatic restoration of a lost sense yet achieved. (Source: technologyreview.com)
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to News Items to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.