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    Jian Zuo, PhD

    Jian Zuo, PhD

    Hearing loss models could lead to new treatments

    St. Jude identifies mouse models of hearing loss similar to that in children due to chemotherapy, as well as some adult forms of hearing loss  

    Children with cancer who suffer hearing loss due to the toxic effects of chemotherapy might one day be able to get their hearing back through pharmacological and gene therapy, thanks to work done with mouse models at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

    These models will help scientists understand what occurs in the ears of children who suffer ototoxicity (toxic damage to the inner ear due to chemotherapy) and eventually, which genes are responsible for that damage, according to Jian Zuo, PhD, associate member of the St. Jude Department of Developmental Neurobiology. Zuo is senior author of a report on this work that appears in the October issue of Hearing Research. “The models will also help us study age-related and noise-induced hearing loss in adults, which is similar to the damage that occurs in children receiving chemotherapy,” Zuo said.

    Mice carrying random mutations were produced by the Tennessee Mouse Genome Consortium. The St. Jude team used a special test to identify which of these mice could not respond to high frequency sounds. The investigators then determined the various abnormalities that caused this hearing problem, which included some types of damage that occur in children whose hearing is damaged by chemotherapy.

    Other authors of this study include Mohammad Habiby Kermany, Lisan Parker and Yun-Kai Guo (St. Jude); Darla Miller (Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Oak Ridge, Tenn.); Douglas Swanson, Tai-June Yoo and Dan Goldowitz (University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis).

    This work was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health, a UNCF/MERCK Postdoctoral Science Research Fellowship and ALSAC.

    September 2006