According to the World Health Organization, hearing loss affects over 466 million people worldwide and is the most common human sensory impairment. It is estimated that genetic factors contribute to the causation of approximately 50% of congenital hearing loss. Yet, curative approaches to reversing or preventing genetic hearing impairment are still limited. The clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats-associated protein 9 (CRISPR-Cas9) systems enable programmable and targeted gene editing in highly versatile manners and offer new gene therapy strategies for genetic hearing loss. Here, we summarize the most common deafness-associated genes, illustrate recent strategies undertaken by using CRISPR-Cas9 systems for targeted gene editing and further compare the CRISPR strategies to non-CRISPR gene therapies. We also examine the merits of different vehicles and delivery forms of genome editing agents. Lastly, we describe the development of animal models that could facilitate the eventual clinical applications of the CRISPR technology to the treatment of genetic hearing diseases.
Keywords: Base editor; CRISPR-Cas9; Gene delivery; Gene therapy; Genome editing; Hearing loss.
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