This year we have been busy funding research to help find treatments for hearing loss, and have seen exciting progress in areas we’ve been supporting.
What we’ve funded in 2022
This year we’ve funded £1.3 million of new grants, including 6 project grants, 1 fellowship and 4 innovation grants.
We’ve worked with 7 other organisations to co-fund research, including Alzheimer’s Research UK, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, the Dunhill Medical Trust and Fondation Pour l’Audition.
Building a community of researchers
We’ve launched our Hearing Therapeutics Initiative Network to build a global community of professionals working on developing treatments for hearing loss and tinnitus, to help collaboration and hopefully speed up the process.
In 2022, our Hearing Therapeutics Initiative:
- Supported Dr Lisa Nolan in obtaining £3 million of research funding from the Wellcome Trust to launch her own laboratory. Lisa and her team at King’s College London will study sex differences in age-related hearing loss, and hope to find a new strategy for treating the condition.
- Helped one of the world’s top 20 pharmaceutical companies find hearing loss experts to advise their work on a new treatment for noise-induced hearing loss.
We’ve also started working with In2Science UK to support their In2Research programme. We’re funding summer placements in hearing research labs to enable students from disadvantaged backgrounds to gain research experience and to help them follow a career in hearing research.
Developments in research we’ve supported
Research we funded in 2016 led to the development of a rapid genetic test that can identify babies at risk of developing hearing loss if they are treated with aminoglycoside antibiotics. This could help to protect the hearing of more than 200 premature babies in England each year who are treated in neonatal intensive care units with these antibiotics to protect them from life-threatening infections.
This year, researchers we’ve funded have investigated the role of 4 genes in hearing loss and helped to understand what they do in the hearing system. This knowledge will help us to develop effective treatments for hearing loss.
We’re supporting Dr Peter Santa Maria at Stanford University to develop a new method to treat chronic middle ear infections. He’s using tiny particles (nanoparticles) of gold to increase the effectiveness of antibiotics to treat these infections. His results so far suggest that the combination of antibiotics and gold nanoparticles is up to four times more effective at clearing infections than antibiotics alone. Read more about Dr Peter Santa Maria’s research project
Grants we awarded
- A Fellowship to Dr Juan Fons, at King’s College London, to study the role of a gene called Dyrk1a in otitis media (middle ear inflammation), particularly in the context of Down syndrome. His findings could lead to the development of better and more effective treatments for chronic middle ear infections. Read more about Dr Juan Fons’ research project
- A project grant to Dr Stuart Johnson, at the University of Sheffield, to study how loud noise and ageing interact to damage our hearing. His findings could help to develop new treatments to prevent age-related hearing loss. Read more about Dr Stuart Johnson’s research project
- A project grant to Dr Alan Cheng, at Stanford University in the USA, to develop new types of aminoglycoside antibiotic that don’t damage hearing as a side-effect. This could help to protect the hearing of people who need to be treated with these life-saving medicines. We’re working with the Cystic Fibrosis Trust to fund this research. Read more about Dr Alan Cheng’s research project
- A project grant to Professor Hannie Kremer, at Radboud University in the Netherlands, to develop a new gene therapy to treat a type of hearing loss called DFNA21. This form of hearing loss typically develops in people when they are young adults, and the new treatment could prevent, or slow, the progression of their hearing loss. Read more about Professor Hannie Kremer’s research project
More like this
A look back at the support our services delivered in 2022
This year, our staff and volunteers have provided support to people who called or emailed our contact centre, as well as those who have used our on-the-ground services.