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Christine Petit - Portrait 2010

Christine Petit


People with deafness can partially recover their hearing, thanks to cochlear implants or hearing protheses, but without curative treatments till today. After the discovery of the genes responsible for deafness, the deciphering of the defective cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in each form of deafness, the research is focusing now on their treatment. The inner ear lends itself well to gene therapy for two main reasons : (i) this organ is isolated from the rest of the body, which limits the diffusion of the administered therapeutic agent (virus, nucleotides or pharmacological drug) ; (ii) it is filled with fluids (endolymph and perilymph) which allows the local diffusion of therapeutic agents to a large number of target cells.

Recent successes in restoring auditory and vestibula functions in murine models of human deafness offer encouraging horizon for clinical application.

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