European research project on hereditary deafness, molecular, physiology
and pathophysiology of the inner ear.
The 5 year project commenced on December 1st
EuroHear was officially
launched in Paris on March 23, gathering more than 70
people in the Conference Centre of the Curie Institute.
This field of research has been supported by the European Commission
years. Indeed this project, granted 12.5 M€ by the EC, follows
also led by Christine Petit which have brought to light the prominent
heredity in isolated (non syndromic), congenital or early-onset
As a direct consequence of these investigations, molecular diagnosis
forms of deafness is now implemented in developed countries, as well as
This aforesaid implementation results in greatly improved genetic
available to families. It allows them to be informed about the
for future children, of the hearing impairment’s probable
of the possible relevance of cochlear implantation.
Twenty-two academic institutions and three small privately owned
ten different countries are working in partnership over the project,
together 250 scientists across the world - acknowledged experts
geneticists, molecular and cellular biologists, electrophysiologists,
EuroHear is expanding the field of investigation to include the elderly
presbycusis, a sensorineural form of deafness, accounts for the
majority of cases
of sensorineural hearing loss occurring in people over the age of 40.
that this age-related hearing loss has a genetic basis has been put
decades. Only recently has science proved that 50% of the loss can be
to genetic factors. Presbycusis is a complex trait influenced by the
between environmental and genetic risk factors.
New research strategies, utilising tools of various scientific
be developed to unravel these complex mechanisms.
The understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the
function of the inner ear will pave the way for research into
a challenge also undertaken by EuroHear.