Finding a Cure for Usher Syndrome

With the sad passing of Stan Perron AM, the well-known WA philanthropist with a passion for research, Ear Science recognises the support his foundation has generously provided. Most recently, towards our research into a cure for Usher Syndrome, the main genetic cause for deaf-blindness in our community.

Being diagnosed with Usher Syndrome is a devastating prospect for individuals and their families, as the world they perceive slowly shrinks smaller and smaller before disappearing, sometimes entirely, resulting in both deafness and blindness. Currently, there is no cure for the genetic condition.

In 2018, Ear Science CEO Sandra Bellekom and Dr Elaine Wong, an experienced scientist from our Basic Research team met with Elizabeth Perron at the request of Stan and Jean Perron, to discuss Dr Wong’s research on the chronic condition.

Through her vital research, Dr Wong is working with stem cells to replace damaged cochlear hair cells in the inner ear, with the goal of regenerating these cells to restore hearing.

Dr Wong works closely with Professor Fred Chen at Lion’s Eye Institute, given that the condition affects both hearing and eyesight.

The Perron Family were so inspired by Dr Wong’s work, they agreed to supplement the costs of research staff for Dr Wong’s team to the tune of $500,000 up to 5 years, to progress a favourable outcome faster.

The project team has been named ‘The Stan and Jean Perron Cure Hearing Loss Team’.

Success in this field could potentially be repurposed to help the millions of other patients around the world with cochlear hearing loss – not just patients with Usher Syndrome.

Click here to read more about the Usher Modelling Project.