SYDNEY, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- Australian researchers said on Thursday that they are set on significant inroads in treating major hearing loss, by delivering drugs directly to damaged inner ear cells to aid their repair.
Their new approach involves loading neurotrophin protein drugs in tiny particles created through nanoengineering for them to reach the inner ear areas at safe and effective levels, the Bionics Institute biomedical research facility said in a statement.
Noise-induced hearing loss impacts workers in sectors ranging from construction, mining and manufacturing to transport and entertainment, where exposure to loud noise occurs on a daily basis, said the institute.
Such hearing loss is the most common disability in developed countries and considered permanent and irreversible, as there are currently no treatments, it said.
The latest project aims to determine how the neurotrophin drugs disperse in the inner ear via the nano particles accurately and help provide key data for crucial clinical analyses, according to the researchers.
The next few steps will be made toward "developing the first therapeutic approach to restore hearing," said lead researcher Associate Professor Andrew Wise.