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MedTech Insights: Young Girl Hears for the First Time After Groundbreaking Gene Therapy

young girl hears for first time after groundbreaking gene therapy

In a groundbreaking development, Opal Sandy, a baby girl born deaf due to a rare genetic condition, can now hear unaided for the first time. At just 11 months old, Opal received gene therapy at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. This makes her the first patient in a global trial and the youngest child to undergo this treatment. The innovative therapy addresses auditory neuropathy by delivering a working copy of the OTOF gene directly into the cochlea. This enables the inner hair cells to communicate with the hearing nerve.

Spectacular Results and Future Implications for Gene Therapy

The results have been astonishing, with Opal’s hearing showing continuous improvement. Within weeks, she responded to sounds. By 24 weeks, she could hear soft sounds such as whispering. Now 18 months old, Opal can recognize and respond to her parents’ voices. She is also starting to communicate verbally. Her mother, Jo Sandy, expressed immense joy, stating, “When Opal could first hear us clapping unaided it was mind-blowing.” This success highlights the potential of gene therapy to treat hearing loss. It also paves the way for further advancements in treating other genetic conditions affecting hearing.

This milestone is significant for the MedTech industry. It showcases the transformative power of gene therapy in providing alternatives to traditional treatments like cochlear implants. It marks the beginning of a new era in audiology and otology. This success offers hope to many families affected by genetic hearing loss worldwide. The success of the CHORD trial could lead to wider applications of gene therapy. This has the potential to revolutionize how we approach treatment for various genetic disorders.

For more details on this remarkable achievement, you can read the full article on Medical Xpress.

By Samantha Feliz

Managing Editor for The MedTech Digest and Communications Director for MedTech Momentum