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      Sian Kitcher

      Sian Kitcher is an Action on Hearing Loss-funded PhD student at the University of Sussex. She is studying how drugs like cisplatin damage the ear, and possible ways to prevent this damage.

      Biography

      Sian graduated from the University of Sussex with a degree in Medical Neuroscience. While there she developed an interest in sensory disorders, particularly hearing loss. After completing her degree, we awarded her an Action on Hearing Loss PhD studentship.

      Sian is investigating how a range of drugs commonly used to treat cancer enter the hair cells of the inner ear, killing them and leading to permanent hearing loss.

      Five minutes with Sian Kitcher...

      What do you want your research to achieve?

      It is now well established that some commonly prescribed drugs, such as the chemotherapy drug cisplatin, can cause permanent hearing loss. Unfortunately, there are no effective alternatives, so these drugs are still widely used. I hope that my research will show clearly how these ototoxic (ear-toxic) drugs reach the hair cells of the inner ear, where they initiate cell death.

      I'm also working to identify compounds that, when given with these ototoxic drugs, may be able to block their uptake into hair cells and prevent the subsequent hearing loss they cause.

      Why do you work in hearing research?

      Hearing research is extremely varied and interesting – and the results can have a real impact on the quality of life of millions of people with hearing loss and/or tinnitus. I believe the far-reaching effects of hearing loss on a person’s life are not always fully appreciated, especially as it's often invisible. To have a chance to contribute to a body of work that could preserve hearing and make lives better is very rewarding.

      Find out more about Sian Kitcher' s research project.

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