The Summit, held in partnership with University College London (UCL) Ear Institute and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) UCLH BRC Deafness and Hearing Loss theme, brought together over 160 experts from universities, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, investors, commissioners, clinicians and patients to discuss strategies to accelerate the development of pharmaceutical and biological treatments for hearing loss and tinnitus.
At the Summit, multinational pharmaceutical company Novartis shared results of its phase I and II clinical trials of a gene therapy to regenerate hearing, while the US-based biopharmaceutical company, Fennec Pharmaceuticals, presented their Pedmark phase III clinical trial results which showed successful protection of children’s hearing who underwent chemotherapy with a common ototoxic anti-cancer drug that can permanently damage hearing.
Dr Ralph Holme, Executive Director of Research at Action on Hearing Loss said ‘Despite 5% of the world population confronting hearing loss and over 1 billion young people being at risk of hearing loss due to recreational noise, there are currently no treatments available. Once lost, hearing does not recover, is linked to increased risk of developing dementia and depression and poses serious obstacles in the language and social development of young people. This makes the development of treatments for hearing loss such a pressing issue. If we are to avoid a looming hearing health crisis both here in the UK and abroad, we must act now to work towards a future in which effective treatments for hearing loss and tinnitus are available to everyone who wants and needs them.'
Action on Hearing Loss is the largest donor funded hearing loss charity in the world with the charity last year investing £1.7million in funding for more than 100 research projects around the globe to find treatments and technology to support those with deafness, hearing loss and tinnitus to live the life they choose.
Translational Hearing Research Summit: Biological and Pharmacological Approaches was sponsored by Otonomy, Sensorion, Fennec Pharma, Cilcare, Autifony and evidENT.
Contact for media enquiries:
Julia Maillebiau, telephone: 020 3277 6071, out of hours: 07944 038 635 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Action on Hearing Loss on Twitter @hearinglosspr
Notes to Editors
- Action on Hearing Loss helps people to confront deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss to live the life they choose. Action on Hearing Loss enables them to take control of their lives and remove the barriers in their way. Action on Hearing Loss gives people support and care, develop technology and treatments, and campaign for equality
- For more information about Action on Hearing Loss’s Biomedical Research programme, go to www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/biomedicalresearch
- Action on Hearing Loss spokespeople and case studies are available for interview upon request.
- Hearing loss research is woefully underfunded, compared to the scale of the issue, which affects one in six people in the UK. In 2014, hearing loss research received less than a tenth of the funding per person affected (£1.11 per person) compared to sight loss (£11.35 per person affected) and a fraction of funding for research into other conditions such as diabetes, and heart disease.
- Hearing loss, if undiagnosed or mismanaged, can lead to isolation, depression and reduce employment opportunities. Investment in research has the potential to not only improve the quality of life for millions of people across the UK, but save the economy millions of pounds.
- Tinnitus is a medical term to describe noise(s) that people can hear in one ear, both ears or in the head – such as ringing, buzzing or whistling. The sounds heard can vary from person to person, but the common link is that they do not have an external source.
- People who are severely or profoundly deaf are four times more likely to be unemployed compared to the general population and it costs the UK economy £30bn each year, which does not include the cost to the NHS and private healthcare providers of treating it.