Hearing restoration with gene therapy – I knew this day would come

For me, this is a profound moment. It will be even more profound if many people can benefit from it.

Some of you may know that I suffer about an 85% hearing loss, and even with powerful hearing aids I still have very poor hearing which has gotten almost non-functional over the years. It makes me a social hermit since I don’t function well in public. It is part of the reason I became a broadcaster, because I had such a terrible time in college lectures and with language requirements in the school of science. In broadcasting, I only had to talk to the camera or to the microphone. It was a job that was not only a dream come true, it brought me out of my shell that many hearing impaired people live in due to the social isolation it brings.

I started losing my hearing as a child due to being treated with the antibiotic Tetracycline, which is known to be ototoxic. By the time I was 10, I needed hearing aids, but fortunately, I had formed my primary speech skills. Many other people who lose hearing as children aren’t so lucky as I and have speech problems as a result.

I knew this day would come, I predicted that gene therapy to treat cochlear nerve deafness would be coming over 10 years ago. I can only hope I can be able to take advantage of it someday. I won’t hide my own selfishness, I want to be one of those people.

Fully functional <i>(Image: Steve Gschmeissner/SPL)</i>

Fully functional hair cells in the cochlea (Image: Steve Gschmeissner/SPL)

Deaf people get gene tweak to restore natural hearing

People who have lost their hearing will be injected with a harmless virus carrying a gene that should trigger the regrowth of their ears’ sensory receptors

IN TWO months’ time, a group of profoundly deaf people could be able to hear again, thanks to the world’s first gene therapy trial for deafness.

The volunteers, who lost their hearing through damage or disease, will get an injection of a harmless virus containing a gene that should trigger the regrowth of the sensory receptors in the ear.

The idea is that the method will return a more natural sense of hearing than other technologies can provide. Hearing aids merely amplify sounds, while cochlear implants transform sound waves into electrical waves that the brain interprets, but they don’t pick up all of the natural frequencies. This means people can find it difficult to distinguish many of the nuances in voices and music.

“The holy grail is to give people natural hearing back,” says Hinrich Staecker at the University of Kansas Medical Center, who is leading the trial. “That’s what we hope to do – we are essentially repairing the ear rather than artificially imitating what it does.”

There are still many things we don’t know about how the ear works. This is because the delicate machinery of the inner ear is enclosed in the hardest bone in the body, making it difficult to isolate without causing damage.

What we do know is that sound waves are funnelled into the ear, making the ear drum vibrate. These vibrations are transferred to the cochlea in the inner ear via three tiny bones. Thousands of sensory receptors line a part of the cochlea called the organ of Corti, as rows of inner and outer hair cells. Sound waves, amplified by the outer hair cells (shown above right), vibrate the inner hair cells, opening ion channels on their surface that let neurotransmitters flow in. This triggers electrical activity in the cochlear neurons, passing the information to the brain so it can be processed.

Both inner and outer hair cells can be damaged by loud noises, drugs such as some antibiotics and disease, and don’t regrow. A possible fix arose in 2003, when researchers discovered that certain genes can transform the cells supporting the hair cells into both types of hair cell.

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Complete story here.

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175 Responses to Hearing restoration with gene therapy – I knew this day would come

  1. milodonharlani says:

    Very good news, indeed, if it pans out in practice. I hope you may benefit.

  2. Curious George says:

    Good luck! We need you.

  3. Janice Moore says:

    Oh, dear Anthony!

    This is WONDERFUL news. Thank you for sharing.

    A girlfriend of mine (had to quit her job as a cop and was then, like you, “on stage” as a “deaf” trial attorney –tough!) has cochlear implants, but, as the article said, they are good, but not-quite-there… .

    (I hope you won’t mind my telling you that I will be praying very hard about this for you.)

    With a big smile and HIGH HOPES for you,

    Janice

  4. Latitude says:

    …can I get in line right behind you?

  5. Lance Wallace says:

    I wonder if tinnitus might be treatable eventually, by this or similar approaches. My wife and I have a constant “radiator hiss”, which fortunately we are able to tune out much of the time, but others have far more serious cases.

  6. stan stendera says:

    Best news I’ve had in a year. Good luck! I would pray for you if I was a religious person.

  7. David in Michigan says:

    Age related deafness cured??? That would be something special. I remember my grandfather who became progressively more deaf as he aged. It was an obstacle that he hated and, as you pointed out, isolated him from his family and friends. I hope this works!!

  8. Konrad says:

    This is amazing news.

    Do you know how soon after the trial this would be available?

    I’m guessing they would only do one ear at a time as with cataract operations and such.

  9. PaulH says:

    Wow, I hope this works. :-)

  10. John Coleman says:

    Anthony, I want you to be part of this first test group that gets the injections. Move to Kansas if you have, too. Give them your house if it will help. Do whatever you have to do to regain your hearing. With normal hearing, your life will be so much happier and more successful. If you need donations to cover the cost, set up an account. Lets make this happen.

  11. ghl says:

    I’m going to inject the top of my head.

  12. Janice Moore says:

    STAN STENDERA!

    Hi.

    #(:))

  13. Pamela Gray says:

    Freakin cool! I’ve studied ototoxic hearing loss. Mother had it. And many veterans that came through our VA lab had it. This is awesome!

  14. Janice Moore says:

    “If you need donations to cover the cost, set up an account. Let’s make this happen.” John Coleman

    YES!

    Do, Anthony!

  15. Anthony Watts says:

    @ Janice, @ John

    ““If you need donations to cover the cost, set up an account. Let’s make this happen.”

    I cannot in good conscience do that, we don’t even know if it will work yet or if I could even get on the trial. But, thank you for the kind words.

  16. RexAlan says:

    Latitude
    …can I get in line right behind you?

    And me next please!

  17. John R T says:

    Will it help me learn Central American Spanish lingo?
    These seventy-year-old connections deliver neither what I read nor what I remember from four decades ago, in Asturias.
    Wear ear plugs and dark glasses for as long as it takes to become accustomed to all those
    sounds.
    Great news for all of us. . . . thanks

  18. Janice says:

    A harmless virus . . . and with my luck, I’d get my hearing back, but all my hair would fall out, and my skin would turn blue.

  19. Pete says:

    Thank you for sharing the above information. My ear doc has informed me of minor nerve damage requiring a special adjustment for my hearing aids. Knowing of the Atohl1 gene gives me something to talk with him about.

    Knowing the frustrations inherent with poor hearing, I do wish you well.

    Pete

  20. Bill Illis says:

    I too have a hearing problem. Unlike Anthony’s case, it is not as severe and I find it manageable. Gene theapy, stem cells, activating the body’s systems at the molecular level has always been the most promising way forward. Just think if this actually worked.

    Reminds me of the days when people complained of ulcers. Many people in fact. Then an Australian researcher suggested it might be caused by bacterial infection and anti-bacterial therapies might cure the condition. Ridiculed for many years, it was not the consensus position. Massive profits were being made on ulcer medications that didn’t really work at all. But now, no one talks about ulcers anymore because it is a condition of the past. Real science, real objective science. Real science.

  21. Larry C says:

    Hoping it turns to reality soon!

  22. Ric Werme says:

    I don’t know Anthony. With the current backlash against GMOs in the food industry, do you think the blogosphere is ready for a host who’s a Genetically Modified Organism?

  23. Peter Miller says:

    Best of luck, I sincerely hopes this proves to be real science and not the equivalent of ‘climate science’.

  24. Ric Werme says:

    May I humbly suggest waiting for the second or third test groups? There’s a lot to be said for not being first with the latest car, cell phone, or other technology. Let them work the kinks out first. :-)

  25. Gary Hladik says:

    “…a harmless virus carrying a gene that should trigger the regrowth of their ears’ sensory receptors…a group of profoundly deaf people could be able to hear again…”

    Works in mice, but if it had been up to me, I would have made the announcement after a successful human trial, lest false hopes be raised and dashed. Best wishes for success.

  26. Paul Westhaver says:

    This is good AND ethical science at work. Viral gene therapy, with adult experimentation with all the appropriate permissions in place and positive results. Nobody is exploited. Nobody’s body parts were taken without permission.

    Fantastic.

    Only one question, If the virus carries a gene to convert hair support cells inti the cilia, what is preventing the gene from entering hair support cells elsewhere on the body. – side effect, cure for male pattern baldness. Chaching!!!

  27. Rick K says:

    Anthony, just sending best wishes to you and to all who may benefit. I hope this treatment works!

  28. Darrin says:

    Keeping my fingers crossed for you.

    This comes after last week they announced 4 for 4 in restoring function to people with spinal cord injuries using a type of electrical stimulation. The kicker is they were working on something else and a side effect was restoring function to there test subjects.

  29. You have my best wishes! I feel quite positive about this kind of approach to physiological issues.

    Bill Illis made a damned good point. The so-called ‘science-based’ medicine which some people champion with dangerous fanaticism has caused all manner of problems, often worse than the disease. I wonder how many doctors take seriously the Hippocratic Oath.

    Death to science-based medicine. Here’s cheers to solutions that might actually work. :-)

  30. Eric Worrall says:

    Agree with Ric Anthony – it sounds very exciting, but don’t be in the first test group.

    Gene therapy with viruses has a patchy history, for example there have been cases of severe allergic reactions, even deaths, in response to introduction of the gene transport virus.

    I would also ask some very careful questions about the effect of adding this gene – adding some kind of growth factor sounds awfully close to what happens when a normal cell mutates into a cancerous tumour.

    http://pubs.acs.org/subscribe/archive/mdd/v03/i08/html/lesney.html

  31. Jules Hancock says:

    I am totally deaf in my right ear due to a fractured skull. Apparently my ear mechanism works but does not if you understand my meaning.

    This is exciting stuff!

  32. starzmom says:

    This sounds terrific for those with a hearing loss. If you are lucky enough to get into the trials, and you need a place to stay in Kansas, we’re here!!

    PS I got bionic eyes (Lens implants for cataracts) last summer and am vision correction free for the first time in almost 50 years. I hope the same for you with your hearing.

  33. Cal Smith says:

    I have ben resisting getting a hearing aid but my daughter this week advised me of studies which have shown a high degree of correlation between hearing loss and dementia as well as decreased cognitive function. My wife’s 98 year old mother lives with us and we have to deal with her dementia on a daily basis. What ever it takes to regain your hearing please do it – we certainly do not want you to join the ranks of the cagw people with cognitive dissonance disorders.

  34. Lance says:

    Worked a few years in a saw mill while a young man, next to the trimming saws. Even though we wore hearing protection, I know now, that I suffer from Tinnitus, 24/7 ringing in my ears. I too am slowly having more and more hearing loss, and its not fun at all. Hope for the best Anthony.

  35. KevinK says:

    Well, I certainly hope this treatment can help those in need, including Anthony. If only we had directed more of our spending to efforts like these that may solve (or at least minimize) real problems.

    Perhaps it will help, I sure hope so.

    Think of what all those billions wasted on “fixing” the unbroken climate could have done to alleviate Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, hearing loss, eyesight…….

    Anthony, I sure do hope this may someday help you, if even in a small way.

    Cheers, Kevin

  36. JohnWho says:

    Hear! Hear!

  37. Mac the Knife says:

    Anthony,
    My sincerest hope is this trial proves viability for this gene therapy method and you will have your hearing restored soon!
    Best wishes to you and prayers for success in the gene therapy development and application,
    Mac

  38. jolly farmer (richard) says:

    Very best wishes with this, Anthony.

    Richard

  39. evanmjones says:

    You could fly again.

  40. Power Engineer says:

    Anthony-
    You better hope they don’t develop a cure for hearing loss or your readership will drop to zilch. All your readers have hearing loss . We can’t interact normally so we find our friends online.
    Cheers.
    Reddy Kilowatt

  41. John Mason says:

    This is great news! Hope these trials work well! (I’m rated severe loss in my left ear and profound in my right.)

    If this really works, this has the potential to help a ton of people while destroying the current hearing aid market. I wonder what this type of treatment will cost?

    This also indicates huge progress on gene therapy in general.

    Could this type of treatment revive pancreas that are not working well too and cure diabetes? Parkinson’s disease? Nerve regeneration at the spinal cord level?

    I wonder with a bunch of new cells how the brain will react to the new signals. Often new hearing aid users like myself along with the hearing loss develop ringing in the ears which often is the brains reaction to the loss of signal. Often getting hearing aids will stop the ringing after a time as the brain gets used to a return of the missing signal levels. What if you end up with more receptors than you were born with? Thankfully the brain is more plastic than what used to be thought so I’m hopeful the side effects of this treatment can be ‘tuned’ out of the brain and real normal hearing returned.

    This may be the first practical application of gene therapy I’ve read. This could be the ushering in of a new age in medicine!

  42. Margaret says:

    I wonder if this might help people with Meniere’s.

  43. David Ramsay Steele says:

    Mr. Watts, Have you given a thought to cochlear implants, as described in the book Rebuilt by Michael Chorost?

  44. ChipMonk says:

    Janice, I have had Tinnitus for many years. I would gladly take the “risk” of turning blue, losing hair, etc.. if I could just “hear” silence. It literally brings tears to my eyes when I consider how many other people like Anthony, you, at. al. are “missing out” on life’s simple things. Hey we could become… The 2-Blue Group… oh wait, someone did something like that… blue bald people… hmmmm

  45. Jim G says:

    Anthony,

    Thank you and please keep us informed as to progress in this endeavor. I will be one of those in line behind you. I have, however, been happily married for 35 years and am somewhat concerned about the totallity of the results if I were able to hear more clearly everything my wife has to say. Just a thought.

  46. Doug Jones says:

    My hearing losses are in the 60-80 dB range (to simulate it, insert earplugs AND put a headset on), and man o man do I hope this will become available soon!

  47. AntonyIndia says:

    We (= millions across the globe) heard you loud and clear. I hope you can hear clearly too soon.

  48. wildninja says:

    That’s fantastic! I hope you get a good video of the first time you’re able to hear at full volume again– it would be great to see your response!

  49. Cold in Wisconsin says:

    Ototoxic drugs are not uncommon these days, and many times represent the drug of last resort due to antibiotic resistance to other safer drugs. I wonder what the prevalence of this type of hearing loss is. Another cause of deafness, German measles during pregnancy, is almost completely preventable with universal immunization. I knew a family with a deaf sister who suffered total hearing loss via this mechanism.

    I too have some mild hearing loss, most likely due to loud noise and lack of hearing protection. I hope this treatment might be a help for me. Some old age hearing loss might be due to arthritis in the tiny bones of the inner ear so might not be amenable to this cure, but it could still be helpful to improve the other structures.

    Good luck to the researchers and the patients in this trial.

  50. george e. smith says:

    Well I hope you get a chance to experience, and benefit from such a treatment, Anthony. I’d be devastated if I lost my hearing, and couldn’t listen to the great and inspiring music we have. I’d also be happy to be rid of what I presume is Tinnitis. For me it never stops.

    The loss of basic senses (that we got used to having) is a heavy burden. But there are many who are far worse impaired, and we shouldn’t complain, with lesser impairments. I’m getting used to seeing unsharp images with one eye; but it still sees very well. Thank technology for camera autofocus.

    Having recently dealt with loss of speech by a family member, I’m increasingly sensitized to such issues.

    Hope it happens for you soon Anthony.

    G

  51. Aphan says:

    My hopes and prayers are with you Anthony!!! If there is anything your readers can do to help with costs or anything else, just say the word. What a great thing!!!

  52. vigilantfish says:

    Fingers crossed. While I understand humanity now has cures for many mice and rat ailments that we share, that do not necessarily work on human beings (hmm – nice twist for the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, come to think of it), it seems to me that this one could be different.

    It’s nice to hear of potentially good news coming from the world of science, for a change.

  53. My grandfather, a physician, worshiped antibiotics, and stuffed me with Tetracycline when I was 6-7 years old. It didn’t affect my hearing but surely screwed up my teeth for life.

  54. PRD says:

    Prayers for you, Anthony. As well as many of my current and former coworkers in plants with high intensity and frequency noises. We suffer hearing losses with hearing protection used.

    Though I attribute my left ear to my mother voicing her level of appreciation for my personal methane production and release. Many years ago, God bless her.

  55. philjourdan says:

    I was not aware of your hearing loss. But I echo Janice and John. Should it reach clinical trials and you are accepted (or the longer haul of actual treatment), I will gladly donate. I am fortunate in the hearing category, I was also treated, but it did not affect me.

  56. Brian S says:

    Gary Hladik says at 6:14pm “Works in mice……….. etc”
    As someone observed at the time this cure for baldness in mice was announced “This is really good news because nothing looks more ridiculous than a mouse with a comb-over.”
    Seriously though, this really IS good news, always assuming the trials work. Having had cataract ops and lens implants a couple of years ago the huge improvement in vision has been well worth the cost, and if my hearing can be restored before it disappears completely it will be equally as welcome, by family as much as by myself since they now have to repeat most things before I can catch what they are saying, even with the hearing aids turned up full blast. That has never struck me as a very clever idea when they say that loud noises harm hearing ability. So I will join the queue of hopeful recipients and in the meantime ask around here in South Africa whether our medics are following this development.

  57. Tim Walker says:

    Good luck to all who need this therapy. It is good to hear a good story about what science is doing.

  58. Gregory says:

    If anyone deserves this more, Anthony … I cannot think of whom it might be.

  59. Gayle says:

    So many people would benefit from this. I hope it becomes possible and I hope you are one of the beneficiaries. Tetracycline – weird stuff. The infections for which it is prescribed now are completely different than 35-45 years ago. Like Alexander above, I swilled the stuff as a child for ear infections and sore throats (probably mostly viral, I realize now…) and have the teeth to show for it. But now it’s prescribed for anthrax, plague, Legionnaire’s disease and chlamydia, none of which I suffered as a kid.

  60. Pamela Gray says:

    Injection therapy. Wish that had been the route I took when following my grandparent’s advice. “Coffee stunts your growth and you should eat long food.” So I stayed away from coffee till I went to college and I ate spaghetti every chance I got. I am now a tall 4 ft almost 11 in woman (don’t laugh, I’m taller than my mom by two inches!). Maybe I shoulda injected the spaghetti?

  61. Barry DAY says:

    Well, well, this therapy may explain and help convert many of those who still believe in XX ANTHROPO-EXCENTRIC XX sorry, anthropogenic global warming through progressive deafness to all the EMPIRICAL W.U.W.T. evidence against AGW for the last 17yrs

  62. WillR says:

    Hears hoping that it all works…

    Now I’ll bet there are a lot of guys wondering about ED…

  63. Jay Currie says:

    Wonderful news. Real science is amazing and I hope this works for you and the millions of people whose hearing has been impaired. Cautious optimism is always best when we move from a mouse model to humans.

  64. F. Ross says:

    Thank you Anthony.
    For simialr personal reasons I also hope that this therapy/cure will develop into a positive cure.

  65. Tez says:

    This could be bad news for hearing aid manufacturers. Good news for me though as I need a hearing boost and have never really taken to hearing aids.

    I hope this science is not stalled by those firms that may suffer from its progress.

  66. Jon Jewett says:

    Years ago, back when cochlear implants were new, self styled “advocates for the hearing impaired” protested the technology as “one step removed from genocide” (or something like that). It will be interesting to see what the response to this will be.

    Best of luck, Anthony. My hearing loss is from years around high speed, rotating machinery although it isn’t severe. It’s just bad enough to use as an excuse for not hearing the long-suffering Mrs. Jewett!

    Regards,
    Steamboat Jack (Jon Jewett’s evil twin)

  67. milodonharlani says:

    David Ramsay Steele says:
    April 23, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    Correct me if wrong, but IMO this gene therapy is at least initially intended to improve hearing for those who already have cochlear implants:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140324111918.htm

  68. ren says:

    Genes always act in the set. The isolated gene can cause unknown side effects.

  69. John F. Hultquist says:

    Sending link on to a few folks we know. Thanks.
    ____________________________
    Janice says:
    April 23, 2014 at 5:55 pm
    “… and my skin would turn blue.”

    Unlike the hearing possibility, the blue skin can be achieved today at very little cost. Search for Argyria.

  70. Richard111 says:

    I hope the treatment turns out a success and makes its way over the pond. I’m totally deaf in my left ear and 80% in my right. There is also a large steam engine parked somewhere nearby. I’m 75 next birthday but I will watch with interest. Thanks for posting.

  71. Dagfinn says:

    Ric Werme says:
    April 23, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    I don’t know Anthony. With the current backlash against GMOs in the food industry, do you think the blogosphere is ready for a host who’s a Genetically Modified Organism?
    ————————-

    Of course, you can’t just release a GMO into the environment. So can can they leave the hospital? And they have to be appropriately labeled.

  72. Anthony. I suffer from high-tone deafness as a result of a career following the Colours. There’ll be many other vets and engineers with a lifetime in heavy industry in the same boat, (not to mention kids who spent all their free time in discos,) following this blog. When you wrote of the sense of isolation from society you spoke for me and countless others. I also echo Janice and John. If you are offered the chance of becoming a guinea pig for this treatment, it is in MY interest that the research is continued until the treatment is effective. I would gladly be part of the crowd-funding of your treatment.

    God be with you

  73. Mindert Eiting says:

    The most common cause of hearing loss among young people are the outrageous sound levels in dancings, disco’s, and bars. Moreover, the personel gradually increases the level in order to compensate for the hearing loss of their customers. The next weekend sound boxes will be put in my street in order to celebrate the anniversary of our king, producing over 110 dB (my estimate even 120 dB) and transforming my city into a war zone. I wish you a lot of success but let’s not forget the prevention.

  74. Cal Smith says:
    April 23, 2014 at 6:57 pm
    Cal, this treatment offers hope for those who can’t hear. A treatment for those who won’t hear is still very much in the theoretical stage.

  75. ren says:

    Anthony Watts ask them someone close about reiki. It will bring relief.

  76. stephen richards says:

    Sadly my deafness came from playing in a pop band in the early ’60s and cleaning selectors in a mechanical telephone exchange. Non-curable!

  77. I do hope that the trials are successful and that Anthony will soon have his full hearing back. He is a lesson to all of us in that, notwithstanding his hearing loss, he has achieved so much, not least with this outpost of science and reason. I am still chuckling over how WattsUpWithThat, on an averagely slow Sunday, gets almost twice the audience of a heavily over-promoted, $20 million schlockumentary series in which once-big names make asses of themselves telling us we’re a’ doomed. The F. of D. had better watch out once Anthony’s hearing is 100% again.

  78. Edohiguma says:

    This is just another step into the right direction.

    On the long term, what I see is that we simply breed spare organs, based on the patient’s DNA. You lost your arm? Okay, we’ll just breed a new one. Heart? Eyes? Liver? Kidneys? No problem.

    And the best, since it’s the patient’s cells already, there won’t be any rejection.

  79. DirkH says:

    Well, godspeed to the Kansas researchers.

  80. ren says:

    Are human genes will be the patented?

  81. Mique says:

    I became profoundly deaf in my mid-30s (exposure to military jet aircraft noise) and have had bilateral cochlear implants for some years now. While not a universal panacea, they work very well for me. If you haven’t already explored the implant option, Anthony, I’d strongly recommend that you do so as an alternative solution. If you are a suitable candidate, it offers proven technology and a very satisfactory result that is available now.

  82. DirkH says:

    Edohiguma says:
    April 24, 2014 at 12:42 am
    “On the long term, what I see is that we simply breed spare organs, based on the patient’s DNA. You lost your arm? Okay, we’ll just breed a new one. Heart? Eyes? Liver? Kidneys? No problem.”

    It looks like that it’s the scar tissue that overgrows a wound that stops the regeneration of limbs in mammals. Fingertips in humans BTW do regenerate to a certain extent.

    There have been experiments with gene knockout mice that were able to regenerate limbs after the scarring mechanism was disabled.

    It’s a few years since I read about that, I don’t know how far this research advanced.

  83. tango says:

    I have no hearing in my left ear only tinnitus to all people with this problem good news

  84. Alan the Brit says:

    “There are still many things we don’t know about how the ear works. ” No kidding? Yet we know for a “fact” what the earth’s temperature will be in 2100!

    My sympathies & even greater respect for you Anthony. Let’s hope this is successful! I sing with a girl (well she’s a girl to me in her 30s) & she developed a hearing impairment a few years ago requiring her to need hearing assistance, pretty cool things that she can adjust the volume, tone, etc, & even some pretty fancy electronic trickery, yet she puts many of us at choir to shame with her musicality, pitch, & timing!!! That’s why I thank the big fella up stairs each day for my health, eyesight, & hearing, & huge respect for those of us who have to deal with & overcome a disability on a daily basis. Aren’t Human beings amazing? Well to me they are, I appreciate there are those out there who consider us vermin & a blight upon Gaia! Bon chance, Anthony!

  85. Patrick says:

    “Edohiguma says:

    April 24, 2014 at 12:42 am”

    I believe, eventually, we’ll be able to use 3D printers to literally print off body parts. I understand this has alreday been tried for some organs.

    I too suffer ear problems and have done since birth. Tinnitus was bad when younger so too were ear aches which had me in bed for weeks sometimes. No-one can really appreciate how ear problems affect people. One of my friends recently had a severe ear ache and now appreciates my tales of problems past with ears.

    And research like this requires lots of energy!

  86. SandyInLimousin says:

    Really good news for anyone this treatment can help. My grandmother was totally deaf by the time see was in her teens. A wonderful lady who made the best of things and never complained about her lot in life. I hope this treatment enables many grandparents and grandchildren get closer together (parents and children for that matter).

  87. peter2108 says:

    I have had a cochlear implant since 1991, having been totally deaf for the preceding 18 years following a climbing accident (falling off, that is).

    It is marvellous and life-chnaging yet at the same time limited.

    The problems are mosty down to microphones – you get background noise and cannot distinguish a voice in a noisy environment. Beyond about 6ft the signal just falls away. Unless you have two implants which recently some people do, you have no sense of directionality so no idea which person is speaking and by the time you detect this they stop and someone else starts talking.

    In the end for me the implant allows 1-1 conversations in quiet enviroments. That is so much better than the alternative. Peoples’ experience does vary – the key parameter being period of deafness before fitting. But I think I am fairly typical.

    Fitting implants to deaf babies has the greatest benefit. They learn to speak, for example.

    Implants do massively reduce tinnitus. In some cases that is the greatest benfit.

    Good luch with the gene therapy – it is the way of the future no doubt.

  88. Patrick says:

    “peter2108 says:

    April 24, 2014 at 2:09 am

    The problems are mosty down to microphones – you get background noise and cannot distinguish a voice in a noisy environment.”

    I don’t have inplants but I suffer from this now. And badly too with mobile phone calls when there is a lot of background noise. Interestingly enough, the mobile handset I have actually allows you to “tune” it to your ears, especially with the hands free ear set. At first I thought it was a gimmick, but it actually works and calls are much clearer. And talking of gene therapy and genetics I have been diagnosed with haemochromatosis. Most poeple have enough iron in their bodies to make a nail. I have enough to make a bag full. My friends tell me to stay away from large magnets!

  89. Brian Davis says:

    Hope you can get to benefit from this groundbreaking therapy, Anthony. How amazing would that be for you! Good luck

  90. Lou says:

    Nice. It would be interesting to see if it works on me with near 100% hearing loss due to meningitis.

    However, it is best for everybody that pregnant/lactating mothers get enough vitamin D3 supplement (at least 4000 IU a day for pregnant and 6000 IU a day for lactating mothers) to minimize the risk of being damaged by anything. Also babies/toddlers/kids should get enough vitamin D3 (1000 for every 25lbs of bodyweight) to minimize the severity of symptoms from disease that would lead to damages such as hearing loss. Vitamin D deficiency is a major problem that’s not addressed enough.

  91. hunter says:

    Thanks for bringing this important news to our attention. And thank you for sharing some of your personal story regarding this.

  92. richard says:

    A really strange situation. My cousin’s husband taught music at a school that was stressful for many reasons. As he neared retirement his hearing started to go. Eventually he retired and I asked him how his hearing was, he said it was coming back. Stress is a strange beast!

  93. neillusion says:

    Is the wife very vocal, you might get out of the frying pan into the fire, with a hair all over the place too. Blessings come in many guises.
    Only joking!
    Interesting news. Hope it works out.

  94. cedarhill says:

    I’m reasonably certain this does not embryonic stem cells but gene splicing. That may be important to some.

  95. philjourdan says:

    @Pamela Gray – LOL! Sorry, my sainted grandmother topped out at 4’11”. And I have a daughter that passes you by a mere inch. And we ate lots of spaghetti! ;-)

  96. ShrNfr says:

    The truly profound miracle here is that the NS actually published something worth reading rather than their ACGW drivel. This may be a sign. Superficial as usual, but at least not their usual fare.

  97. Steve from Rockwood says:

    That’s great news although it would mean my father would have to start paying attention at family gatherings.

    I saw a documentary where the scientist was trying to understand the evolution of the ear. She was studying some form of rodent that gives birth to very premature babies that live on the underbelly of the mother and develop from there. She would take a baby at different stages of development and clean them with worms (which would eat the flesh clean from the carcass) and then scan the developing bones of the ear to make a time elapsed model. Turns out this animal started out with three main bones that also show up in ancient rodents (millions of years ago) in a less developed form but that fuse together to form a very complex shape. The largest bone of the ear breaks away from the jaw early on to fuse with the other bones. It looked like the ear developed as a primitive ear first, and then “evolved” into a more complex design while the baby was still growing in its very early stages. Interesting and humbling at the same time. I can’t remember the rodent’s name.

  98. HenryP says:

    is this technigue the same as the technigue applied here?

  99. Paul says:

    I suffer myself, cant wait for this to be available :)

  100. James Strom says:

    Konrad says:
    April 23, 2014 at 5:41 pm
    This is amazing news.

    Do you know how soon after the trial this would be available?
    ______

    Assuming the trials are successful (there will have to be several) this is a question about the regulatory process. A decade would be a plausible estimate.

    I hope it works and I hope it benefits Anthony.

  101. Joseph Murphy says:

    This is great news! If anyone is interested in crying some tears of joy, serarch youtube for “cochlear implants turned on”. HenryP has the right idea!

  102. Joseph Murphy says:

    HenryP, nope that is an electronic inplant.

  103. Mr Lynn says:

    My wife (a physician) was surprised when I told her Anthony said he’d been treated with tetracycline as a child. “We don’t prescribe that for children,” she said; “It discolors their teeth.” But I see in the comments above that others received it, with that result. It must have taken a while before pediatric use was discontinued.

    /Mr Lynn

    REPLY:
    Yes, I have discolored teeth as well. – Anthony

  104. Eve Elizabeth says:

    So glad I didn’t buy that expensive hearing aid on ebay USA or worse still, buy an even dearer one locally here in Oz. The prices are outrageous and as I have noticed with friends, often don’t work well at all.

  105. Geoff Connolly says:

    Thanks for sharing your personal situation Anthony and my sincere best wishes to you and all the people that might benefit from this research.

  106. Janet Smith says:

    Anthony,
    I can only imagine how much this affects everyday life. My father became more and more unable to hear our conversations and thus withdrew from the usual cut and thrust of everyday life. How very isolating this must have been. Everything must be wished for this therapy.
    Southern Girl

  107. Ian W says:

    Mique says:
    April 24, 2014 at 12:58 am

    I became profoundly deaf in my mid-30s (exposure to military jet aircraft noise) and have had bilateral cochlear implants for some years now. While not a universal panacea, they work very well for me. If you haven’t already explored the implant option, Anthony, I’d strongly recommend that you do so as an alternative solution. If you are a suitable candidate, it offers proven technology and a very satisfactory result that is available now.

    I also have just had one of the new generation cochlear implants ‘activated’. I have gone from profoundly deaf to having the hearing acuity, in all frequencies, “of a young child” (to quote the audiologists). The new processors are significantly better in noisy environments and have adaptive processing of the directional microphones that blanks out noise but not speech. Cochlear implants are literally life changing. All you have to do is ‘train’ your brain to the new ‘sound’ inputs and hearing discrimination rapidly improves.

  108. Don Bennett says:

    Very interesting and exciting. Let’s hope the trials go well and no adverse complications develop.

  109. Janice says:

    ChipMonk says: “Hey we could become… The 2-Blue Group… oh wait, someone did something like that… blue bald people… hmmmm”

    Smurfs . . .

  110. Annie says:

    I do hope that there is success in this research. I cannot imagine how hard it is to be really deaf as I have had good hearing all my life, other than in one ear for several weeks last year with a bad dose of sinusitis. I found that a real trial, so what you have to live with is beyond my comprehension. All best wishes and with lots of admiration for what you accomplish here Anth-ny. Annie

  111. physicsgeeky says:

    An 11 year old in my neighborhood lost his hearing at age four and now has cochlear implants. I’m sure that both he and his parents would love for this to become reality.

    Good luck to you and all sufferers of hearing loss, Anthony. Let’s hope that this is the solution people have been waiting for.

  112. R Taylor says:

    Anthony, thanks for posting this hopeful development, and may it end up well for many. It would be especially fitting if you recover some hearing, as you have done much to make the sound of reason clear and loud.

  113. Sherry Moore says:

    I know its not very “PC” but I will have my secretary’s prayer circle include you in their prayers, asking for a speedy, effective treatment and cure. (My secretary seems to have a direct line) lol. Seriously if for some reason anything changes with getting that treatment, PM me and I will give you some names here and overseas that can help you out. Kind Regards, Sherry

    Ps–now that you will “de-hermitize”…are you married? ;)

  114. Leo Morgan says:

    There’s a reason my scientist friends call that magazine ‘Non Scientist’.
    At this time the scientists haven’t even selected the test subjects, let alone done the experiment.
    Hearing involves more than the ear and nerve cells to the brain; the brain itself has a big part of the functionality of hearing, and this will not be addressed by the scheme.
    The scientist leading the trial says ‘this may help 1-2% of people with hearing loss.’ Nevertheless, it is exciting and hopeful, not so much for itself as for its implications.
    Just curious- how communicable is the virus, and what is the impact of the gene on individuals with excellent hearing already?

  115. Mark Bofill says:

    Thanks for running this Anthony, and best wishes, I hope you are able to take advantage of this as well.

  116. kenin says:

    I would only consider such treatment on one condition: for those who have hearing loss and have HAD children- go for it!! For those who have hearing loss, but want children- wait until you’ve fathered or given birth to children.

    How such treatment can effect ones biology, is not know to us, but to those who have been practicing “gene therapy” for decades are masters.

    Be careful….
    I post the above with absolutely good intentions and compassion…… nothing else.

  117. James Strom says:

    Anthony, you should be careful before concluding that your desire for better hearing is selfish. Selfishness is a concept that is much analyzed in the literature on ethics, but let me put it briefly: the desire to be a better listener is not inherently or exclusively selfish.

  118. Louis LeBlanc says:

    Great news, Anthony, for both of us. I have had a similar experience with poor hearing and now, at 80, it is a serious problem for me. Even with aids, I have to ask for repeats about half the time. If the therapy becomes available to you, I will gladly contribute if you need funds. WUWT is my daily must-read blog, not only for the factual info and opinion, but particularly because you have maintained a civil and respectful environment for us believers in real science.

  119. Louis LeBlanc says:

    Message for Eve Elizabeth:

    You can buy hearing aids on the internet for $600 per pair, which provide (IMO) 90-95% as good results as “clinic” hearing aids at 10% the cost

  120. John Powers says:

    Anthony,

    I for one did not know of your hearing issues. I will light a candle at church and pray for you to get this miracle treatment. For all you have done to educate me on all sorts of issues I hope this miracle comes to you soon….

    John P

  121. Anthony Watts says:

    Thanks everyone for the kind words, I’ve been offline for almost 12 hours as for the second time in a week, my home Internet DSL connection failed (Thanks AT&T) and so it wasn’t until this morning that I could get back online.

    As to the question on cochlear implants, I’m not quite there at the level they would benefit me just yet. I hover in the zone between “severely impaired” and “profoundly deaf”. I have just enough function left to be assisted by hearing aids, but the aids themselves do damage to the remaining hair cells.

  122. TimC says:

    Anthony: may I join the many others here in hoping that the Kansas trial meets every success and leads to restoration treatment being widely available both to yourself and all those suffering any serious hearing impairment. Bon chance, mon ami – and if you believe it would help in any way to have a crowd-funding exercise relating to this trial, like many others above: count me in.

  123. CRS, DrPH says:

    Anthony, thank you for sharing your personal struggles with us (and the world). I was not aware of this, and you continue to impress.

    I have epilepsy, controlled by brain surgery, so I know much about your battles. One has to wonder…how many revolutionary medical innovations might we have developed if the funding had gone into these areas instead of “climate change research”?

    We may have cured cancer, world hunger, diabetes etc. and probably would have. Pouring all of that money onto rent-seeking academics like Mann is a historic travesty.

  124. Ian L. McQueen says:

    Please keep us posted on your progress with this. I lost most hearing in one ear due to an accident and was told that the problem was due to the hairs. I would REALLY like to regain hearing in that ear!
    You have our sympathies regarding your hearing loss and very much appreciate the huge amount of information that you keep posted at this site.

    Ian M

  125. timothy sorenson says:

    I THANK YOU Anthony, from college on I have been suffering tinnitus, with it getting worse. I was not a rock music listener, infact, the ringing I suspect made me one who didn’t like music. But I took massive amounts of tetracycline as a teenager until my body rejected it and I became allergic to it. Now, I might know the cause of my ever increasing tinnitus and ever decreasing hearing.

  126. HenryP says:

    The story of Sarah Churman

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/04/23/hearing-restoration-with-gene-therapy-i-knew-this-day-would-come/#comment-1620405

    was most intriguing when you look at how she got the money together for it. To start off with, she did not have a penny for it. As far as I remember, it included an interview with Ellen Degeneres who just gave her the money for the second operation.
    To her, this whole thing really was a miracle (from God)
    (interestingly, Jesus has said that one day we would do miracles greater than Him)
    It seems there are already some people here who would be prepared to contribute to a fund for this. Usually one would ask a friend to administrate this and he would inform donors of the goals and the progress.
    Anthony, let me pray for you.
    Don’t be afraid to ask.

  127. James at 48 says:

    Tinnitis and instances of progressive hearing deficit run in my family, I am hoping this is successful.

  128. Anthony, like others I would gladly make a donation to help you out. When I was at university one of the lecturers said that he thought that in evolutionary terms, hearing was more important than sight because there are more areas of the brain dealing with this sensory input compared to sight.
    Pamela Grey how are you? I was in Newcastle city centre a couple of Saturdays ago and walked through a nineteenth century arcade, that I don’t normally go to, there was Hutchinsons bookshop, established in 1881 and still very much in the pre Internet age. This is why I couldn’t find it. I have taken a photo of it with my phone, so if you are on Facebook, I will upload it for you!

  129. Duster says:

    Having had tinnitis since I was in grammar school, and because it is increasingly a problem, this is very interesting news. After reading Anthony’s news I did a little checking and found this:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14763322

    So, for us with tinnitis there is some hope in this as well.

  130. justaknitter says:

    WOW!
    I have total loss in my left ear (damaged auditory nerve caused by mumps at age 10). My daughter also has total loss in her left ear (damaged auditory nerve caused by a bad reaction to the mumps shot at age 6). My father-in-law has 75% hearing loss (NIHL), my mom etc., etc. etc…..this hits close to home for everyone.

    What a blessing this treatment could be! I had given up any idea of there ever being a cure. I’ll start paying more attention. If there is ever an opportunity to support this kind of work, please let us know where to send the checks.

  131. mick says:

    Probably, like many discoveries in medicine we will never hear about this again. The cynic in me says that this is more than likely a way to push up a stock price. We have seen these new breakthrough stories before.

  132. catweazle666 says:

    That sounds interesting, I could do with some of that myself.

    In my case, it was running up racing motorcycles in garages, sitting too close to big speaker stacks and shooting.

  133. Jeff says:

    Exciting news. Hope you can get in on the trial or shortly thereafter when the treatment proves successful and becomes available to the public. All the best.

    Hmm, I don’t suppose this would help the alarmists who will hear no dissent?

    OK, I know, theirs is an entirely different malfunctioning organ.:)

  134. Joel O'Bryan says:

    I remember reading about this gene therapy approach in Nature Medicine in 2005. I told my wife because her dad’s hearing was so bad from the time he was 30 he had lost over 70% of his hearing. It has taken 8+ years to get the technology human-study ready and FDA regulatory approvals with Novartis as the lead big pharma biotech.

    The original experiments were done in guinea pigs. The researchers were amazed at how quickly and well the treated animals recovered their hearing compared to zero in the controls.
    If you have a Nature Med subscription (or institutional access like me), you can read the groundbreaking research article here:

    http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v11/n3/full/nm1193.html

    or the reader’s digest Views summary article (better for non-scientists) here:

    http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v11/n3/full/nm0305-249.html

  135. David, UK says:

    O.T. but this great few sentences here:

    “These vibrations are transferred to the cochlea in the inner ear via three tiny bones. Thousands of sensory receptors line a part of the cochlea called the organ of Corti, as rows of inner and outer hair cells. Sound waves, amplified by the outer hair cells (shown above right), vibrate the inner hair cells, opening ion channels on their surface that let neurotransmitters flow in. This triggers electrical activity in the cochlear neurons, passing the information to the brain so it can be processed”

    …are a classic example of why I lost my faith (as indoctrinated into me at school) in the religion of Darwinism (as did Darwin, apparently). There’s no way I can see something as incredibly complex as an ear could ever have evolved through a process of natural selection. It’s just too much of a stretch to believe that no intelligence played a hand. And that’s not even counting the fact that evolution doesn’t explain how the very first simple life-form appeared in the first place. I’m not remotely religious; there are too many religions in the world to know which one, if any, to subscribe to. And yet due to the many inexplicable wonders of our world I have an easier time with a Creationist theory than an evolutionary one.

    Anyhoo, carry on!

  136. Cherpa1 says:

    Anthony, hope you are a candidate and this works. I have 85% lost in Rt. ear, but thankfully a powerful hearing aide helps when 1 to 1. My Lt. ear is a 95% loss and totally out of the hearing game. Best, best if luck on this endeavor.

  137. Barbara Skolaut says:

    Fingers crossed that it works. Good luck, Anthony.

  138. mick says:

    That means you are an Agnostic

  139. Chris R. says:

    Gene therapy is rapidly advancing. I remember the excitement of seeing the
    first human gene therapy trial in the U.S.A. In 1994, a young Canadian woman
    was treated at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She had familial hypercholesterolemia.
    Her cholesterol was over 600; 2 members of her family had died in their 20s
    from heart attack. A portion of her liver was extracted, genetically modified, and
    reintroduced into her; it implanted and her problems were much reduced. These
    results were announced some two years after she had the procedure.

    Anthony, I sincerely hope that you are able to participate in a trail soon and
    that the results are even better than you hope.

  140. captainfish says:

    ghl says:
    April 23, 2014 at 5:44 pm
    “I’m going to inject the top of my head.”

    ROFL!!! I’ll buy that for a dollar.

  141. Gunga Din says:

    Prayers also whether you want them or not. (If “not” then just consider them “best wishes”.)
    I would suggest that if you are able to be a part of the first round of human testing that they make clear to you the possible side effects as far as they can know at this point.
    Maybe give what they say a little extra weight since your desire for the positive results may tip the scale in the “yes” direction.

    PS I’d only consider it “selfish” if you lied or cheated in some way to be a part of it. Wanting something that could meet a genuine need is not selfish. How would your family benefit if it works? So don’t let feeling “selfish” about it be a deterrent.

  142. Martin Emerson says:

    Good luck Anthony . When I was about 15 I was prescribed Streptomycin for pneumonia which is ototoxic.
    I have suffered frequency dependent hearing loss for a long time now with the loss in the speech spectrum. I know what it is like to feel isolated in environments where everone else can participate in conversation -when all I can do is try to lip read – and usually make some comment which , having heard the conversation incorrectly , people think you are mentally disabled !
    When is it available in the UK?

  143. dynam01 says:

    This is great news Anthony! As it happens, we just learned today that my 20-year-old daughter has been approved for a cochlear implant. She has Large Vestibular Aqueduct Syndrome and is almost totally deaf in her right ear (she can hear OK in her left with a hearing aid). I know this is a different procedure but anything that promises improved hearing is well worth it. Best of luck to Anthony and all who struggle with hearing deficits.

  144. asybot says:

    Good luck Anthony for everything you have done you certainly deserve an opportunity to check it out. But a word of warning to all. I have hearing loss. So 3 years ago I went ahead and spend a lot of money on top of the line hearing aids. At first they were absolutely astounding, I could hear birds, leafs rustling in the wind etc etc it just blew me away!!! Wow conversations between people (at times in places I was glad I could control the sound level). But within a few months I started getting blinding headaches. Over time the doctors and ear specialists figured out the fact I struggle with chronic pain started to overload some parts of my brain in a ways they are still trying to sort through. I had to stop wearing the aids, so before anyone tries this in the future be careful side effects maybe unexpected! Especially if the repairs are permanent!
    ( One Dr proposed that my brain slowly confused pain signals with sound input but who knows? I wear a cheap set only a few hrs a day if that).

  145. john says:

    I lost my hearing a child for about two weeks due to a viral infection (back in the early 60’s). Several children died from it and others remained deaf. I can remember the day my hearing came back and remember vividly the mouths of people moving but not being able to hear what they were saying. It was so traumatic that I can still remember it clearly so many years later, On the downside I have pretty serious tinnitus that I have learned to live with since then and like so many others my hearing is getting worse. For me, it is especially embarrassing to be in a relatively noisy atmosphere such as a restaurant with friends and family, remain silent and occasionally nod my head looking for visual clues that I may be spoken to. I never start a conversation because of this and have now (because it is bad enough), explained to them that my hearing is not quite up to par. I have been pretty crafty at selecting restaurants and other venue’s that are reasonable, but with grandchildren, the noisier places are where we go and obviously I am over-ruled (grin). At least they know now and speak up when they talk to Papa.

    I hope that this works out because if it does, they have a customer.

  146. Merovign says:

    Anthony, I can only sympathize with your condition metaphorically, but I wanted to let you know (along with others here) that I do sympathize.

    I do hope that an appropriate treatment comes soon for you.

  147. R. de Haan says:

    Let’s hope this therapy really works and will be on the market ASAP so you can be treated.
    I wish you the best of luck restoring your hearing.

  148. Bob Weber says:

    Progressive self-inflicted tinnitus from earbuds, chainsaws, and heavy equipment leaves me often saying, “say again”… so I can really empathize with all who suffer faultlessly like Anthony, who compensates well as a prolific writer. Best wishes to all with hearing loss; hopefully the “science isn’t settled” on that one either.

  149. John Archer says:

    Yes, good luck with this, Anthony. I hope it does the trick!

    My knowledge of biology is almost no-existent but it strikes me that the technique of using these viral ‘nano-devices’ ought to be generalisable. If this is a success—and I very much hope it is—then perhaps it will spur further research with the result that all manner of ailments will become curable. Big smiles! :)

  150. Cathy says:

    Like so many above, I offer my sincerest wishes for your wish to be realized . . and would happily contribute to any fund which helps with the journey.

  151. Eamon Butler says:

    I am fortunate to have reasonably good hearing and I can appreciate how significant this development is to those less fortunate. I hope this is the success story you and others have been waiting for, Mr. W. and that it speeds it’s way through without delay. Best of luck with it.

    Eamon.

  152. yamaka says:

    Anthony, you say “I have just enough function left to be assisted by hearing aids, but the aids themselves do damage to the remaining hair cells.”
    My husband is recovering from Pneumoccocal Meningitis (14 weeks in) and he has lost all hearing in his right ear, and has recenctly got a hearing aid for the profound loss in his left, both due to cilia damage/destruction. Are you saying that the aid will damage the remaining cilla in the left ear?

  153. Sean says:

    Shouldn’t we be spending this money on something useful like saving the planet from CO2? We have enough humans on the planet already, now they have to be able to hear too?!?!?!

    (sarc)

  154. Jeff says:

    Anthony, all the best and prayers for you and your hearing (and the trials going on – although it’s probably better to wait for “SP2″ or “SP3″ as it were….).

    My son had a massive injection of antibiotics shortly after birth for Strep-B which damaged his inner ear, but it was a life-or-death decision, so no real alternative was probably available…fortunately he didn’t lose everything, but had middle ear issues putting him in the
    severe-to-profound category which so far Widex Fusions (forerunner of Dreams) are helping out OK. That said, a gene-splice therapy would be wonderful.

    He uses FM transmitter/receivers in school, but there are lots of situations where that isn’t enough (e.g. noisy class, teacher cooperation, etc.). But it’s a wonder the things that are available today.

    Looking at what he’s had to go through, I can only imagine the h-ll it must have been for you. Folks often misinterpret being hearing-impaired as being slow or downright dumb, when in point of fact it’s often “did I hear that right” or “was that a ‘d’, a ‘b’, or a ‘p’ ?”. And the crazy thing is, even with almost perfect correction, the lag is still there…

    Congratulations to you for getting through all of it so well, and for having such a great blog, and for your work in spreading the truth about weather and climate.

  155. Jeff says:

    A few hearing links if folks are interested (sorry if not):

    Dr. Staecker, who’s running the study

    http://experts.kumc.edu/en/people/565-Hinrich_Staecker

    A paper on promising (umbilical) stem-cell treatment methods:

    http://kuscholarworks.ku.edu/dspace/bitstream/1808/8056/1/Devarajan_ku_0099M_11665_DATA_1.pdf

    There are others pointed to from Dr. Staecker’s site, but unfortunately some of them are behind
    paywalls, even though the public has already paid for them….$89.00 to download a pdf or other
    file is a bit much….

    as in w$w$w.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23560526 which is the one I really wanted to
    read (remove the $ signs)…..sigh….

  156. Jeff says:

    Finally, a couple more for folks with hearing issues or interests:
    http://www.hearinglosshelp.com (Dr. Neil Bauman)

    He has a LOT of information on ototoxic drugs. Even for folks with NO hearing issues, it’s a good idea to check out this info, as ototoxicity is a potential problem for everyone, Lasix users in particular (had that with my son, too).

    And a good “meeting place”: http://www.hearingaidforums.com/ Lots of helpful info there (look for Doc Audio and Um bongo)…

    Folks interested in the difficulties of deafness or hearing impairment might want to watch (or read about) “Sue Thomas, F.B.Eye”… Some interesting episodes there about “big D versus little d deafness”, which new parents might find interesting/helpful.

    Again, major RESPECT for folks who have to pull through with this or other difficulties…

  157. Jeff says:

    “David, UK says:
    April 24, 2014 at 12:48 pm”

    Have a look at Werner Gitt, “If Animals Could Talk”. ISBN-10: 0890514607,
    ISBN-13: 978-0890514603. Really interesting info about eyes, ears, etc. I have the same viewpoint, which is, sadly, rare over here.

    My son has middle ear as well as inner ear issues (anvil malformed). I’ve heard that multiple ear infections and antibiotics can cause that…not sure. They don’t want to do a Stapedotomy, as even with that there’s still loss, and if it doesn’t work, then it’s CI time….so I’m hoping and praying
    this test will work out and the therapy helps people.

    Some good news is that there are now CI’s (Cochlear Implants) that don’t risk the residual hearing, but if a (relatively) non-invasive treatment becomes available, that would be great.

  158. Jeff says:

    “Janice says:
    April 23, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    A harmless virus . . . and with my luck, I’d get my hearing back, but all my hair would fall out, and my skin would turn blue.”

    Just think, though, if they make a sequel to Avatar….

    (Just kidding….)

  159. Roger Sowell says:

    Here’s hoping for a huge success. Hearing loss that can be restored, with nature’s own materials.

  160. george e. smith says:

    One of the most widely publicized cases of severe hearing loss is the case of Rush Limbaugh, who had a relatively sudden, almost total loss of hearing; a major handicap for a prominent radio and TV figure (nothing to do with his political positions).

    So Rush underwent some significant remedial procedure, which was not simply installing megawatt Bose stereo hearing aids. Apparently the result is an almost total return to normal hearing.

    You might try contacting him Anthony, to find out exactly what he had done. But in the meantime, this gene trickery sounds exciting.

    I heard within the last week of a similar viral messenger sent to switch a SINGLE BASE PAIR in some aberrant gene, that will completely cure some malady, in this patient, which currently, I can’t recall.

    This is not like having a clone of yourself in the freezer, to raid for spare parts as things crap out.

    This little viral bugger goes about switching bases in the adult patient, and replicating itself to take over new cells and switch them before they replicate; so over time, your body with viral turbo boost simply replaces every cell in your body (nearly) over time, with government approved ones, as the old ones wear out.

    It’s magic, I tell ya!

    Keep on it Anthony, and nyet with the selfishness. The first law of altruism, is that you have to survive to be able to do good; and you ARE doing good’s work.

    G

    It’s almost too clever to believe; but it is happening.

  161. Congratulations and godspeed, A.

  162. Ed Mertin says:

    I hope this works for you, Anthony.

    Can kinda relate. I wish there was therapy for a crushed heel. A truly crushed heel will never, ever heal in a lifetime. Every day ends the same, swollen and sore.

  163. ren says:

    Polish idea of cancer.
    Nanoparticles , microcapsules or slightly smaller than the virus , are used in human medicine for several years. Then the transport of drugs. But they have two drawbacks . Firstly, tend to be unstable – quickly disintegrate , as if by themselves .

    Secondly . – In the body quickly overlap plasma proteins, which alerts the immune system , which sends phagocytic cells and within minutes the nanoparticles are removed – said prof . Ciach.

    His nanoparticles do not have these disadvantages – they are durable, easy to manufacture ( ” formed almost the same” ) and to this kind of untouchable . The result can be very long to circulate the blood , looking for cancer cells. Why do you owe ? Polysaccharide coating that is highly hydrated and sweet. It first makes them invisible to the immune system. The latter – attractive for cancer cells .

    Here we have to go back 90 years , when German biochemist Otto Wartburg , examining their metabolism, detected a fundamental difference : instead of oxygen cancer cells ” fed up ” glucose. Consume it up to 200 times more than normal. This is because cancer cells undergo anaerobic glucose changes , which are much less efficient than aerobic . For this so-called . Wartburg effect its discoverer seven years later received a Nobel Prize .
    Weakness of tumor cells to glucose is used in the diagnosis of cancer (e.g., administered to a patient labeled deoxyglucose fluorine -18 and tested its concentration technique of positron emission tomography – PET- CT) . But not in the treatment of cancer.
    Prof. Ciach precursor here is : firstly surrounded their sugar polysaccharide nanoparticles , then put into the doxorubicin , and finally let them into the bloodstream. When the concentration of the drug investigated in cancer cells , we found that there was gone by 20 percent , as in the standard targeted therapy , but as much as 500 percent .

    http://wyborcza.pl/piatekekstra/1,137924,15850377,Polski_pomysl_na_raka.html

  164. Old Ranga says:

    The science blogosphere is rooting for you, mate. Few of us have met you, but your selfless work means a lot. So do you.

  165. AJB says:

    The very best of luck with this Anthony, fingers crossed. After exhausting the latest titanium fix (neat but unsuitable for my mess) now waiting for bio epoxy. 27 years and counting, never give up hope!

  166. ozspeaksup says:

    Anthony I sure hope something comes along and it works,
    BUT
    theres quite a lot of fake n fraud science..just like the climate scene In Big Med.
    see this. as folks above have warned be wary, and wait a bit.
    =====================================

    http://retractionwatch.com/2014/04/25/former-mount-sinai-postdoc-faked-gene-therapy-data-ori/

    Former Mount Sinai postdoc faked gene therapy data: ORI
    by ivanoransky
    A former postdoc at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York faked data in four published papers, one submitted manuscript, and four NIH grant applications, according to new findings by the Office of Research Integrity. We reported on six retractions from Savio Woo’s Mount Sinai lab in 2010, from the Proceedings of the […]

    Read more of this post

  167. Catcracking says:

    Anthony,
    I can only wish you the best. My wife is loosing her hearing and can understand how this impacts her life quality and also for those around us.
    Rush Limbaugh recently had a second implant and in his normal way describes the problem and the procedure in comprehensive detail. I suspect that you are already aware of the specifics, but it also is an informative read. He still has issues but is thankful since his career would end without hearing ability.
    Again wish you restoration of your hearing.

    http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2014/04/24/where_i_ve_been_the_last_week

  168. Jeff says:

    “ozspeaksup says:
    April 25, 2014 at 5:17 am ”

    Fellow was probably suffering under “publish or perish” – that and political/commercial pressure are producing bad science and tempting good scientists to be unethical…sad…

    Good points (always good to be skeptical). There are other applications for gene therapy as well, where there are proven results. A number of causes of blindness are genetic in nature (Usher Syndrome, LHON, etc.) see https://www.fightingblindness.ie/cure/genes-and-gene-therapy/
    for some examples, infos, and links, and one fellow was cured of LCA:

    ” Professor Robin Ali pioneered the first ever successful trial of gene therapy for a form of blindness called Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis.

    The research conducted by Professor Robin Ali at University College London and Moorfields Eye Hospital in London brings hope to millions affected by eye diseases as a result of revolutionary gene therapy treatment.

    Prof Ali treated a patient who has a rare genetic eye disease called Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis (LCA). Steven Howarth, then 18, from Bolton, England, had been left with extremely poor vision and completely unable to see in the dark.

    Following the treatment, his sight improved sufficiently to be able to navigate a ‘maze’ in conditions similar to street lighting at night.

    Prof Ali managed to replace the faulty ‘RPE65′ gene causing the condition with a normal gene. The therapy was delivered in a harmless virus or ‘vector’ which was injected into the back of the eye and spread to the cells.” (quoted from fightingblindness site)

    The related study is here:

    https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ioo/genetics/gene-and-cell-therapy/our-research-programme/current-gene-cell-therapy-clinical-trials/accordion01/RPE65/

    On the hearingaidsforum that I mentioned above, there are a number of threads on gene therapy and related studies under the “Sensorineural Hearing Loss & Stem Cell Research” tab.

    So even with all the “noise” out there, there’s a lot of hope as well…

  169. RK says:

    This is the most amazing and very very good news…I pray a lot for this to be successful and bring hearing back to normal for many many people.

    One of the test report shows that my daughter is having severe to profound Sensorineural hearing loss because of non functional hair cells. MRI and CT scan results came negative. Doctor came to a conclusion that my daughter is having problem with inner ear hair cells.

    God bless all those involved in this process.

    RK

  170. For a brief moment, I wondered how my own words could be reflected on your page!! I began to lose my hearing at seven, wore hearing aids at ten, have wonderful speech ability, and read lips beyond belief. I’ve been waiting for entire life for something like this which would restore my hearing. Cochlear implants are NOT appealing to me — not true hearing. I want hearing to be restored naturally by transplant or regrowth, and suddenly this article is sent to me by my brother who knows how I feel. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful that medical fields are at last turning to more natural ways of restoring hearing. Would love to be part of the 45 who might take place in the testing, but I’m 75, and beyond the age range. But the hope and joy this idea gives me is wonderful!! I’ve lived a full and happy life in the world of deafness, married, mother, retired from a great career, and currently work in community things — always expanding, and struggling in the hearing world which never slows down for the hearing impaired. To know that future generations might be able to have hearing restored naturally
    is a ray of sunshine to me!!!! Oh, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful!!!

  171. Hoser says:

    Konrad says:
    April 23, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    It might not work to treat one ear at a time. A virus would trigger an immune reaction, and once that happens, the virus would no longer be effective if the process of DNA transformation requires the virus to pass through spaces where antibodies could reach them. I suppose you could have a second independent virus deliver the same treatment to the other ear, if the immune system’s response to the first virus had no effect on the second virus.

  172. HenryP says:

    David (UK) says
    …are a classic example of why I lost my faith (as indoctrinated into me at school) in the religion of Darwinism (as did Darwin, apparently). There’s no way I can see something as incredibly complex as an ear could ever have evolved through a process of natural selection. It’s just too much of a stretch to believe that no intelligence played a hand. And that’s not even counting the fact that evolution doesn’t explain how the very first simple life-form appeared in the first place. I’m not remotely religious; there are too many religions in the world to know which one, if any, to subscribe to. And yet due to the many inexplicable wonders of our world I have an easier time with a Creationist theory than an evolutionary one.

    Henry says

    You are correct that Darwin did accept that there is a God at the end of his life.
    Problem is: either everything is coincidence or everything is a plan.
    You cannot have it both ways.
    The other day we had a blind preacher on the Hour of Power and I was amazed.
    I would not know how to get through one day if I were blind.
    Yet, in the final analysis, the truth is that nobody is absolutely perfect. The truth is that God reveals Himself to us there in our weakness(es), when we are down. Religion is not a stairway to heaven, as if when you keep to enough rules, you will make it. True religion is God coming down to you and meeting you in your need, which you had just asked for….

    http://blogs.24.com/henryp/2011/07/23/why-do-i-believe-in-god/

    Have a great weekend you all.

  173. ren says:

    Stem cells from their own blood are good. Even when you download blood stem cells are activated and treat the affected place in the body. They as if their own intelligence.

  174. Joe in Biloxi says:

    My hearing loss is from noise exposure over a lifetime. At 64, I won’t hold my breath in anticipation of a cure trickling down to me. If it does, what a wonderful thing that would be.

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