It will not be very long that your ENT Doctor will be prescribing medicines instead of Hearing aids. 90% of all Hearing loss cases are due to Sensorineural Hearing Loss. The cure for Sensorineural Hearing Loss has evaded the scientific community so far.
Pharma Companies are concentrating on the development of medicines to cure Hearing Loss. The good news is that the research is progressing well. And very soon we will have medicines to cure hearing loss. Benefits of efforts and investment made in Hair cell regeneration technology.
Why Medicines to Cure Hearing Loss are Important
Medicines to cure outer ear and middle ear infections have been available for many years. Unfortunately, we do not have any medicine to date for the restoration of hair cells. Nature automatically repairs damage to some of the organs of our body. Skin, hair, nails and liver are some parts which regrow. Unfortunately, hair cells in the Cochlea are not one of them. Lizards and other living beings are capable of organ regeneration. We, the mammals do not have this gift of Nature. The damage to our delicate hair cells is permanent. Sensorineural hearing loss is due to damage to the delicate hair cells.
Currently, Hearing aids and Cochlear Implant are the only available remedy. Medicines are important because Hearing aids and Cochlear Implants are aids. Aids help one to overcome the problem. They do not cure the problem. Read about the various Hearing Loss treatments available.
Causes of Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Ageing, exposure to loud sounds are some common causes of Sensorineural hearing loss. This also includes listening to music at high volumes. And Ototoxicity or drug reactions. These reasons damage the delicate hair cells in the Cochlea. This damage reduces the ability of the Cochlea. It is unable to convert sound waves into electrical impulses. The electrical impulses reach our brain through the auditory nerve.
Companies Working on Medicines to Cure Hearing loss
The established Pharmaceutical companies along-with the start-ups are also working on the cure. Funded by venture capitalists, they are the new kids on the block. They may be new but have an association with scientists who have prior experience in this field. These companies are doing amazing work which will benefit the hearing impaired community.
The following Companies are leaders in research of medicines to cure hearing loss.
Decibel Therapeutics is one such company based in Boston, USA.
Launched in 2015 by four founders. N. Charles Liberman, Gabriel Corfas, Ulrich Mueller and Albert Edge. It calls itself a Hearing Company focused on discovering and developing new medicines. Their goal is to protect, repair and restore hearing. Decibel Therapeutics started with a $52 billion start-up fund. from Biotech Investment Company, Third Rock Ventures and SR One. SR One is the venture capital investment firm of pharma company GlaxoSmithKline.
Decibel has recently entered into a partnership with another biotech drug developer Regeneron. Regeneron from New York is an established Company known for its research in genetics.
Frequency Therapeutics is another company involved in research to cure Hearing loss. Founded in 2015 by biomedical engineer Bob Langer and Jeffery Karp. Both were from the Harvard Medical School. The founders strongly believe that “humans have regenerative abilities. Scientists just need to turn them on”. David Lucchino, the Co-Founder, President and CEO believes that it has to be the organic way. The way nature does it. The focus of their research is on drugs that will reactivate “Progenitor cells”. A type of stem cells which will regenerate the hair cells in the Cochlea. The Company has already completed phase 1 human trials and will start phase 2 trials in 2018.
Auris Medical is a Switzerland based Biopharma company. It is active in developing novel pharmaceutical therapies to protect hearing. Their focus is medicines to cure Tinnitus and restore balance. They have two projects in advanced clinical development. Keyzilen® for the treatment of acute inner ear tinnitus. And AM-111 for the treatment of acute inner ear hearing loss. They also have AM-125 in early clinical development for the treatment of vertigo. Thomas Meyer the sole founder of Auris Medical founded the Company in 2003.
Jay Lichter, a Biotechnology industry veteran had a severe vertigo attack while driving. He pulled off the road as he felt disoriented. He consulted his Doctor who detected Ménière’s disease. With himself being the patient realised that the available treatments were very limited. Jay Lichter along with his physician, Jeffrey Harris, M.D., Ph.D., decided to conduct research. Jeffrey Harris was the chief of the division of Otolaryngology-head and neck surgery. He was with the University of California, San Diego. The two of them along with several other experts in the field of otology founded Otonomy. The aim of Otonomy was to conduct research and develop new cures for patients with ear disorders.
Audion Therapeutics is a private Pharmaceutical company headquartered in Amsterdam. They have laboratories in the USA. The Company focus is on the delivery and development of drugs. The drugs are for the treatment of diseases affecting hearing loss. Audion’s drug development program is currently focusing on Hair cell regeneration.
We have many Companies working on Hair cell regeneration. It’s a matter of time that one can pop a pill or take an injection to start the process of hair cell regrowth. People with hearing loss do not have to depend only on Hearing aids and Cochlear Implants.