Noise induced hearing loss research in the Serban Lab
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) affects over 400 million people worldwide and it is one of the most prevalent occupational hazards. The military are particularly at risk for NIHL and other hearing pathologies. To date, there are no Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved therapeutics for the prevention or treatment of NIHL; therefore, there is a critical need for the development of effective solutions against hearing loss. Research focused on identifying effective prophylactics or therapeutics is ongoing, but the advancement of promising therapeutic candidates towards actual commercially available products is seriously hindered by the ambiguity of the translational relevance of available animal models currently used in hearing research.
Last year, the Serban group was awarded $2.4 million for a 3-year Office of Naval Research (ONR) project to develop engineered in vitro models of ear structures that would eliminate the need for animal models, would accurately mimic the drug diffusion properties of the physiological structures and would enable the rapid, high-throughput screening of promising topical therapeutics against NIHL. This year, the team received an additional ~$2.4 million to develop and identify novel potential therapeutics against NIHL. This project brings together a broad range of expertise through inter-institutional partnerships with the University of Utah School of Medicine and Creighton University’s Center for Translational Hearing and is expected to set the foundation for the development of a noise-level enabled drug dosing and delivery system to prevent NIHL