Melbourne University Bionics Institute Develops New Treatment for Hearing Loss with Nanotechnology

Discussion in 'Research News' started by Fabrikat, Nov 8, 2018.

    1. Fabrikat

      Fabrikat Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1973
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis then volume then viral infection
      Melbourne researchers flag potential for new hearing loss treatment using nanoparticles

      Melbourne researchers say they have come up with a treatment using nanoparticles for hearing loss that could potentially replace hearing aids for millions of people worldwide.

      The scientists from Melbourne's Bionics Institute at the University of Melbourne believe they can use nanotechnology to deliver restorative drugs to deep within the ear to sufferers of neural hearing loss.

      It is the most common form of deafness, affecting people as they age, or if they've been exposed to prolonged periods of loud noise in industries such as music, mining, construction, manufacturing or the military.

      Jim Findley is one of millions who could benefit from the research.

      When the former US Army infantry officer's ears started ringing for three days straight, he knew something was seriously wrong.

      He had just completed a period of combat in Afghanistan, and he thought the cacophony of sounds on the battlefield — including gunfire, artillery and his comrades shouting at one another — had taken their toll.

      "When the action starts, it's overwhelming to the senses. The light can be blinding, the noise can be deafening, and then everything breaks loose," he said.

      Like many defence force personnel around the world, it was his hearing that was damaged. Permanently.

      He has had partial hearing loss in his left ear for about a decade.

      The isolation of hearing loss
      Lead medical researcher Andrew Wise said the nanoparticle treatment currently being tested an animals would especially help people suffering from sensory hearing loss, which occurs when the nerve connections to the inner ear become damaged.

      It is the most common disability in developed nations according to the Bionics Institute, and is on track to affect one billion people worldwide by 2050.

      Sufferers wear hearing aids and there is no treatment.

      Melbourne's Epworth Hospital ear, nose and throat surgeon, Sherryl Wagstaff, said hearing loss makes people isolate themselves.

      "They don't want to go out, they don't want to socialise and as we know there are now links to dementia as a result of it," Dr Wagstaff said.

      She said the potential new treatment could be "earth-shattering".

      Putting a sprinkle into a nanoparticle
      10477670-3x2-700x467.jpg

      The researchers believe restorative drugs can be "loaded" into the nanoparticles, about half a millimetre in diameter and smaller than a cake sprinkle, or a "hundred and thousand", and delivered to the inner ear.

      Associate Professor Wise said the properties of the particles were "remarkable" and he likened then to volcanic rock.

      "They're very porous, and that property enables us to load very high levels of the growth factors (or drugs) into these particles, and then these growth factors come out of the particles quite slowly after many months," he said.

      Although drugs that can repair inner-ear nerve damage are already available, no-one has yet been able to find a way to get them to the inner ear in the quantity required to work.

      If animal trials are successful, researchers said the technique could eventually replace hearing aids in millions of people around the world.

      "People (who) have problems with hearing, problems with processing sound, information, in challenging environments … where they can hear but have difficulty interpreting speech, that population is probably the target population, at least initially," Associate Professor Wise said.

      The treatment is still a few years away from human trials, but the US Department of Defence is so excited by the prospect it has committed $1.1 million to the research.

      Like many defence forces around the world, payouts to servicemen and women who have suffered hearing loss due to exposure to noise make-up the majority of compensation payouts.

      For veteran Jim Findley, it offers new hope.

      "Mate, it would be brilliant," he said with a smile.

      "What a boon for soldiers, but not only soldiers … construction workers, people who work in the music industry. There are a tremendous number of people who could benefit from this."
       
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    2. Manny
      Dead

      Manny Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      United States
      Tinnitus Since:
      1/2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      central gain << NIHL
      This is a treatment delivery method, not a treatment itself. Still good news of course!
       
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    3. another sean
      Studious

      another sean Member Benefactor Ambassador Advocate

      Location:
      Los Angeles
      Tinnitus Since:
      2015
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Long duration of low audio
      It says "drugs that can repair inner-ear nerve damage are already available", which drugs are they referring to?

      And how is dementia linked to tinnitus as they say?
       
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    4. Jack Straw
      Balanced

      Jack Straw Member Podcast Patron Benefactor Ambassador Hall of Fame Advocate

      Location:
      US
      Tinnitus Since:
      1990s
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Infection, Acoustic Trauma
      It is a theory that the less stimulus someone receives the more likely they will develop dementia. If you deprave someone of auditory stimulus they think it is contributory. This is still a theory and only relevant to older individuals.
       
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    5. JohnAdams
      Festive

      JohnAdams Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Vatican
      Tinnitus Since:
      May 1st 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Aspirin Toxicity/Possibly Noise
      Why does all this have to take so long? Ridiculous!
       
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    6. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Fabrikat

      Fabrikat Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1973
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis then volume then viral infection
      That line caught my eye too! Melbourne University in Australia had some kind of administrative involvement via its Otology department and Frequency Theraputics, in organising the very first safety trial of FX-322, at the Melbourne Eye and Ear Hospital. Its address was listed as a contact on the trial notification. It's possible that he's referring to that particular molecule or some other growth factors.

      Whatever the inference, I'd like to think the researcher knows something that the rest of us do not...yet.

      I don't think the writer was linking tinnitus to dementia. The link was being made to hearing loss however. Presumably, a level of hearing loss whereby people feel isolated in their silence, lacking aural input and stimulation, leading to degenerative cognitive effects on the brain. Kind of a use it or lose it effect.

      Perhaps an issue for tinnitus sufferers, are studies linking its tangible effect on quality of sleep. Are there potential long term effects on brain cognition with a disturbed sleep cycle? Sleep issues occupy so much talk amongst TT members.
       
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    7. Don Tinny

      Don Tinny Member

      Location:
      Argentina
      Tinnitus Since:
      2017 (worsening)
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Loud concert with ear plugs
      I wonder why these research coexist with FX322. It will be because they think they can find something better .... maybe?
       
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    8. Rafaa

      Rafaa Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      2012
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Who knows? I have Patulous ET and ETD + Other things
      Want to know this too. The nerve in my ear is definitely damaged, hence the high pitched nerve spasms. If anyone knows more please chime in.
       
    9. Jim51042

      Jim51042 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      3/28/16
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Headphone use
      Even if FX-322 works creating new hair cells and neurons; no person is going say they don't want repairs and addition neurons to legacy haircells connections
       
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    10. JohnAdams
      Festive

      JohnAdams Member Benefactor Hall of Fame

      Location:
      Vatican
      Tinnitus Since:
      May 1st 2018
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Aspirin Toxicity/Possibly Noise
      Hurry the fuck up. Take my money.
       
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    11. Silvio Sabo
      Pooptoast

      Silvio Sabo Member Benefactor

      Location:
      Gothenburg, Sweden
      Tinnitus Since:
      05/2006
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      Noise - I think
      There is a lot of research going towards pain medication and antibiotics. We've had the Aspirin and Penicilin for almost 100 years. FX-322 hasn't even been properly tested yet, don't think of it as a done deal just yet. And even if it already were out there is always room for improvement. It's rarely that we humans get things completely right on the first iteration.
       
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    12. jay777

      jay777 Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      10/2017
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      benzo/ headphones
      Is this a misprint, the $1.1 million?

      The budget funds four branches of the U.S. military: the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force. In FY 2017, the Congressional Budget Office reported spending of $590 billion for defense, about 15% of the federal budget. For the FY 2019 President Donald Trump proposed an increase to the military to $681.1 billion.​
       
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    13. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Fabrikat

      Fabrikat Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1973
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis then volume then viral infection
      Yep, that all it is! I'm always amazed how small the amounts are, that are given to research houses. Especially when the US government shells out 3 billion a year for vet's tinnitus compensation. Imagine if they had spent even just 1 per cent of this amount each year on research. We probably may have had a treatment for tinnitus years ago!
       
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    14. SlavaSp

      SlavaSp Member

      Location:
      Toronto
      Tinnitus Since:
      2008
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      otosclerosis
      Hello Fabricat,

      I read carefully your post with interest. I suffered from Tinnitus 2009, on 2011 added otosclerosis. From there it is worse more more.
      I don't believe that hearing aid is the solution. I think nanotechnology is an option for it.
      I live in Canada.
      Maybe you hear or know about any researches in Canada for the subject?

      Thanks
      Stanislav
       
    15. AUTHOR
      AUTHOR
      Fabrikat

      Fabrikat Member

      Tinnitus Since:
      1973
      Cause of Tinnitus:
      Otosclerosis then volume then viral infection
      No @SlavaSp, I don't know of any ongoing hearing restoration research in Canada. There may well be labs working on this there, that perhaps others on TT may be able to enlighten us about.

      These reports of various studies crop up from time to time on science news feeds, which is where I find them. But rest assured, if anything of importance in this area comes out of Canada, or for that matter, anywhere else in the world, you're sure to see it find its way here to TT.
       
    16. DebInAustralia
      No Mood

      DebInAustralia Member Benefactor Advocate

      Location:
      Geelong, Victoria
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      30/12/13
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