March 4, 2024 at 7:38 am

New Gene Therapy Using A Virus Cures Deafness In 11-Year-Old Boy

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Shutterstock

We hear about advances in science all of the time, but when we hear about advancements that actually help real-life people, it really makes you feel good.

Probably not as good as the people who actually made it happen, but still.

This groundbreaking gene therapy replaces a mutated gene with the correct version, and in this case, corrected congenital deafness in 11yo Aissam Dam.

“There’s no sound I don’t like. They’re all good,” he told The New York Times.

Source: Shutterstock

His particular deafness was due to a mutation of otoferlin, a gene that makes a protein that’s a key part of relaying sound between the inner ear and the brain.

A mutated version causes deafness in around 200,000 people around the world.

Dam was the first recipient of the otoferlin gene therapy in the States, and it was offered during a clinical study by pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Akouos at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Researchers there injected a liquid containing a benign virus and functional copies of the otoferlin genes into Dam’s ears. The liquid went into his cochlea, a spiral-shaped hollow in the inner ear.

Source: Shutterstock

It took only days for the gene therapy to work, and researchers report that the boy’s hearing is “close to normal.”

Similar studies in China in Europe are also showing remarkable results.

The clinical trials will continue, and most likely expand to other types of gene therapy that target other mutations.

If you think that’s impressive, check out this story about a “goldmine” of lithium that was found in the U.S. that could completely change the EV battery game.