Hearing loss and deafness could soon be an impairment of the past. When mammals damage their inner-ear hair cells that allow them to hear, they do not grow back. Thankfully, Dutch company Audion Therapeutics will soon start human trials on a drug that has been able to successfully regrow hair cells in mice. This was discovered in 2013 when a report on the notch inhibitor used to treat other conditions like dementia showed side effects of treating deafness. Audion's Dr. Albert Edge shares:
“We thought, ‘These side effects in an Alzheimer’s patient are exactly what we’re looking for in treating deafness’. So we decided to try that idea out in these mice.”
Audion is currently working with pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly on the development of compounds. They have received stimulus money from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 fund. The company already has competition; U.S.-based startup Frequency Therapeutics has also filed patents for a notch inhibitor used to regrow hair cells. Learn more about the study via The Atlantic.