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jackm

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Posts: 12
Reply with quote  #1 
Interesting development:

https://www.pri.org/stories/2017-03-20/new-treatment-could-combat-hearing-loss-regenerating-hair-cells-inner-ear
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Aplomado

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Reply with quote  #2 
It would be wonderful if it worked out.

Got to be careful though.  Several people recently went blind after having stem cells injected in their eyes to "treat" macular degeneration.
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jackm

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Reply with quote  #3 

There are two big companies competing to develop a successful treatment, which is exciting:

"Frequency Therapeutics" and "Decibel Therapeutics"


http://www.frequencytx.com/our-company/about-us.php

Frequency Therapeutics develops small molecule drugs that activate progenitor cells within the body to restore healthy tissue. Through the transitory activation of these progenitor cells, Frequency enables disease modification without the complexity of genetic engineering. Our lead program re-creates sensory cells in the inner ear to treat chronic noise induced hearing loss, which affects over 30 million people in the U.S. alone. Our platform technology is founded on discoveries in progenitor cell biology by Bob Langer, Sc.D. at MIT and Jeff Karp, Ph.D., at Harvard, with contributions from Xiaolei Yin, Ph.D. and other members of the Karp Lab at Harvard and Brigham & Women's Hospital.

Our initial focus is on chronic hearing loss, a potential $20 billion market with no effective therapeutic solution. Our breakthrough therapy uses a proprietary combination of small-molecule drugs to cause dormant inner ear progenitor cells to multiply and create new hair cells.

https://decibeltx.com/our-platform/

Approximately 360 million people worldwide are living with hearing loss, and this number continues to grow. This issue has been widely overlooked and under-resourced in medicine, and there are currently no therapeutic options available to address hearing disorders. Furthermore, devices, such as cochlear implants and hearing aids, have limitations. Like most conditions, there are different underlying molecular causes of hearing disorders; therefore, therapeutic interventions need to be matched to the appropriate patient populations based on the underlying cause of their hearing issues.

We are beginning to understand the molecular basis of the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of hearing loss. Recent scientific advances, including those by Decibel’s founders, have provided insights into the link between hearing dysfunction and inner ear pathology. These discoveries have defined potential new therapeutic targets for the treatment of multiple types of hearing disorders. These insights have shown that the synapse in the ear is the most vulnerable component of the hearing circuit, and this synaptopathy is the underlying pathology linked to many major hearing disorders. Published data by Decibel’s founders suggest that by restoring the synapse, the inner ear hearing circuit can be preserved, and hearing can be restored and maintained. Emerging data also suggest that synaptopathy is likely more prevalent than currently estimated by traditional audiometric measurements. This “hidden hearing loss” could represent a major source of sound fidelity and speech recognition deficits across multiple populations, and may precede a progressive decline in hearing.

Decibel’s unique capabilities encompass animal models, drug delivery to the inner ear, imaging, inner ear PK/PD modeling and measurement, bioinformatics, genetics, and target identification. This comprehensive discovery and development platform enables Decibel Therapeutics to identify, develop and deliver novel hearing loss therapies to targeted populations with different forms of hearing disorders.



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fladfg

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Reply with quote  #4 
I really hope it will work!!!!!!
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aprilwine

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Reply with quote  #5 
Does anyone ever feel more discouraged when reading about these types of things? Sometimes it seems like these mythical treatments appear and disappear like mirages in the desert. Real, attainable, affordable treatments based on these technologies seem like they're decades and decades away.

Sorry... I don't mean to be negative. I do want this to work!

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Peter
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Margy

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Posts: 194
Reply with quote  #6 
Yes, I feel more discouraged when reading something like this, because it's all about hearing loss. I don't have hearing loss; I have hyperacusis. The thing is, people and doctors don't imagine that this is even a problem. Hearing loss is the big thing that is being researched. And that's great, but that's not the problem here.

I feel discouraged because what I have is not known about and not being researched. It's like it doesn't exist. But it threatens to ruin my life. And meanwhile, what little one can find on the subject usually gets the problem wrong.
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jackm

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Posts: 12
Reply with quote  #7 
I do understand the sense of discouragement, being a hyperacusis sufferer myself and seeing this word not appearing as much as "hearing loss" and "tinnitus" when it comes to new research.

However, I do think there are in fact grounds for hope here.

Tinnitus and hyperacusis, as we know, are closely connected with each other (though certainly not 100% of the time), and they are both very likely to be also connected with cochlear damage, if not strict "hearing loss" as defined by pure tone tests. There is research (Charles Liberman) suggesting that sometimes this may be auditory nerve damage rather than just hair cell damage, perhaps explaining why some people with hyperacusis/tinnitus have perfect (or close to perfect) hearing and audiogram scores.

But more often than not there will be damage at least to outer hair cells in those of us with hyperacusis. Audiograms are very crude measures and generally don't measure frequencies above 8kHz. These are the frequencies picked up by the outer hair cells most vulnerable to damage. 

Research a couple of years ago suggested that hyperacusis could be the result of the overactivity of "type II afferent nerve cells" whose role is assumed to be to warn the brain of impending damage to outer hair cells. Sudden trauma and damage to outer hair cells might lead to a chronic pathology involving these particular nerve cells. Type II cells "signal tissue damage in a way similar to pain-sensing nerve cells in the body". 

http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/nerve_cells_warn_brain_of_damage_to_the_inner_ear

Now that there is competition between well-funded and prestigiously staffed companies to develop pharmaceuticals regenerating sensory hair cells (outer and inner), as well as associated auditory nerves (in the case of Decibel), I believe there is reason to be cautiously optimistic that tinnitus and hyperacusis solutions for many people are on the horizon.

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