There is a tremendous amount of activity at the moment about pharmaceutical therapies for inner ear disorders: the main focus is upon hearing loss, but tinnitus is also strongly evident. This meeting was an ambitious and successful attempt to draw the different approaches into the open. Whilst competitive attitudes are to be expected in this sector, the possibilities that might be opened up by data sharing and partnership are immense. In total, 101 delegates attended over two days, with input from 23 (!) different companies, which is a cause for real celebration. At this point, the interest in the subject is largely from industry, with 90 delegates as compared with 11 from academia/clinic, but this will need to shift as compounds move from preclinical trials into randomised controlled trials in the clinic (though some of that activity is already evident).
Take-home message for clinicians: if you are asked ‘why is there no research on drug therapy for tinnitus, hearing loss?’ then the up-to-date answer is ‘there is – a tremendous amount – and these life altering symptoms are being addressed with urgency and major resources!’
Report by Prof David Baguley, University of Nottingham, UK.
Reflections from David Stockdale, CEO, British Tinnitus Association
The meeting showcased the latest progress and the challenges and opportunities that are evident, as the pace of progress in this area accelerates. The field is maturing and evolving at speed, with companies of all sizes entering the field with optimism. Whilst my interest is of course in tinnitus, the overlap in the challenges was apparent; the need for biomarkers, objective measures and a patient registry were all discussed regularly and in depth. That said, I left with a real sense of optimism that there are companies trailblazing to one day in the not-too-distant future, bring life-changing drugs and therapeutics to market.