New nano-gel to protect against hearing loss


New nano-gel to protect children receiving chemotherapy from hearing loss: Researchers at Curtin University will test a new nano-gel they created to protect children receiving chemotherapy treatment from the common side effect of hearing loss, part of a new project with Ear Science Institute Australia and supported by funding from the Channel 7 Telethon Trust.

Lead researcher, Associate Professor Hani Al-Salami, from the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute (CHIRI) based at Curtin University, said 90% of children survive cancer, but around half will have some degree of permanent hearing due to the toxic effects of chemotherapy drugs.

“There is currently no proven prevention or cure for this hearing loss, so this new research will test the effectiveness of a nano-gel that is injected into the ear before chemotherapy to prevent possible side effects of cancer treatment. in children,” the associate professor said. Al-Salami said.

“The bile acid nano-gel was developed at Curtin by a group of clinicians, pharmaceutical scientists, ENT (ear, nose and throat) surgeons, cochlea physiologists and synthetic chemists using
advanced technologies.

“Human bile extract is put through specialized systems to produce a gel, which can be injected into the human ear and can potentially protect children from the side effects of chemotherapy, which targets and destroys cancerous tissue and can also killing other healthy tissue resulting in problems including hearing loss.

Sandra Bellekom, CEO of the Ear Science Institute Australia, said it was a very exciting time for ear and hearing medical research in Western Australia.

“The Telethon grant will allow Ear Science to further develop an established and proven nano-gel, improving its effectiveness and making it safer for use in our children,” Ms. Bellekom said. Associate Professor Al-Salami is involved in several other new projects also funded by the Telethon and led by scientists from the Ear Science Institute Australia and the Lions Eye Institute, to develop an inner ear cell culture system that will benefit to children with Usher syndrome, scaffolding to repair perforated eardrums in children, and new systems for delivering drugs and genes to the eyes.

The Channel 7 Telethon Trust’s support for the Ear Science Institute Australia also includes funding to purchase a newly developed scanning electron microscope for use in research, which is capable of micro and nanoscale visualization critical characteristics of the nano-gel.

Funding for the projects was announced as part of the list of Telethon beneficiaries for 2022.

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