Background: Background: Impaired hearing is by some measures the number one disability in the world.Worldwide, it is estimated that 65 million people in the world’s industrialized countriesalone suffer from some type of hearing disability. The CDC estimates that 37.1 millionAmerican adults (16.0% of the population) suffer from hearing difficulties Additionally, it isestimated that roughly 500,000 children in the US suffer from some kind of hearing loss. Itis estimated that 44 million citizens of the European Union suffer from some kind of hearingdifficulty. Currently, there are no FDA-approved pharmacological treatments for hearingloss.
Invention: University of Arizona researchers have developed a high-throughput assay to beused as a drug development platform specifically for discovering new drugs for thetreatment of hearing disorders and hearing loss.
Applications: This high-throughput assay can be used to efficiently and rapidly discover both otoprotective and otoregenerative drugs (i.e. drugs that prevent or repair damage to auditory organs, thus protecting against hearing loss or treating it). It is also capable of detecting ototoxic compounds (i.e. compounds that may cause hearing loss e.g. cisplatin and other chemotherapy drugs). It can thus be used to not only develop new therapies to prevent or treat hearing loss, but also to detect ototoxic side effects in other drugs.
Advantages: The present invention is a novel, high-throughput platform for drug development against hearing loss. Unlike existing systems, enables both behavioral and anatomical assessment of drug candidates. It provides both physiologic and anatomical results, potentially accelerating recognition of otoprotective, otoregenerative, or ototoxic compounds while maintaining a high degree of accuracy and reliability.