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Researchers probe if existing drugs could ease hearing loss

Tal TeitzTal Teitz, PhD, front row, far right, is part of team studying the possibility of repurposing FDA-approved drugs to prevent or alleviate hearing loss.

Creighton University researchers this summer are studying the possibility of repurposing FDA-approved drugs for fast-track treatment of the alleviation and prevention of hearing loss.

“Hearing loss inflicted by noise exposure, chemotherapy and aging is a major unmet medical need in our society, affecting over 600 million people worldwide,” says Tal Teitz, PhD, assistant professor of pharmacology and neuroscience at the Creighton University School of Medicine. “To date, no drugs have been approved by the FDA for treating hearing loss, and we are focusing our efforts to identify and test drugs that can protect and treat various causes of hearing loss.”

A research team led by Teitz is screening FDA-approved drugs and conducting further tests on those that show the most promise, with the hope of advancing them to clinical trials in humans.

“Repurposing FDA-approved drugs is an attractive and effective approach because it can reduce the development timeline by five to eight years and reduce the cost up to 40% compared to new chemical compounds.”

The eight-member research team includes, in addition to Teitz, Matthew Ingersoll, PhD; Chithra Pushpan, PhD; Richard Lutze, a graduate student enrolled in Creighton’s pharmacology and neuroscience program; Creighton medical students Emma Malloy and Darby Keirns; Daniel Kresock, a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry Creighton graduate student; and Jordan Marsh, an undergraduate student from the University of Arkansas Fayetteville participating in Creighton’s Summer Research Institute Program directed by the Center for Promoting Health and Health Equity.

Teitz says the team has already identified drugs that have the potential to be therapeutic candidates for treating hearing loss. The study is funded by research grants from the National Institutes of Health, State of Nebraska, Department of Defense, Bellucci Translational Hearing Research Foundation, Dialysis Clinic Inc., and the American Hearing Research Foundation.

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