Thursday, November 27, 2014

Announcing 2014 Capita Foundation Auditory Research (CFAR) Grant Award Recipients

Didier A Depireux, Ph.D.
Inst. for Systems Research   
School of Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park 
Project Title:  Optimizing delivery of drugs to the middle ear without tympanostomy”

Over the years, my research has focused on the sense of hearing, in sickness and in health. In particular, after developing a rat model of noise-induced tinnitus, I was struck by the lack of methods to deliver drugs to the ear only, bypassing the severe side-effects of most (for instance, oral) treatments. Over the last several years, we have developed a magnetically assisted drug delivery method using biocompatible drug-eluting nanoparticles which allows us to deliver therapeutic drug levels in the cochlea only. More recently, we realized that this method could be used to deliver antibiotics and other drugs from the ear canal to the middle ear, without the need for tympanostomy tubes. 
Our long-term goal is to improve and transform the treatment of ear infections by delivering medications into the middle ear with nanoparticles magnetically pushed through the tympanic membrane which remains intact. Ear infections are the leading cause of visits to pediatricians. In the US, there are ~15 million cases/yr of acute ear infections in children less than 5 years of age. About 20% of these children will progress to chronic ear infections with effusion of fluids in the middle ear. Tympanostomy tube placement under general anesthesia for the treatment of recurrent or chronic ear infections is the most common pediatric surgery requiring anesthesia in the US. This crucial Capita foundation grant will allow us to obtain the preliminary data necessary to establish the validity of the method and some optimal parameters for maximal drug delivery.
Jason A. Beyea, M.D., Ph.D., FRCSC
Ohio State University Eye and Ear Institute

Project Title: Cochlear Hair Cell Regeneration using Adipose Stem Cells in NIHL.”
This research seeks to use a novel source of stem cells, adipose-derived stem cells, to regenerate lost cochlear hair cells in an attempt to improve hearing in a chinchilla model of noise-induced hearing loss.