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Gene Therapy Restores Sense of Smell in Mice, Johns Hopkins University Study


9/10/2012 7:28:43 AM

A team of scientists from Johns Hopkins and other institutions report that restoring tiny, hair-like structures to defective cells in the olfactory system of mice is enough to restore a lost sense of smell. The results of the experiments were published online this week in Nature Medicine, and are believed to represent the first successful application of gene therapy to restore this function in live mammals. An expert in olfaction, Randall Reed, Ph.D., professor of molecular biology and genetics and co-director of the Center for Sensory Biology at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences, cautions that researchers are still years away from applying the same therapy in people, and that if and when it comes, it will likely be most effective for those who suffer from anosmia (lack of smell) due to inherited genetic disorders.

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