The American Hearing Research Foundation (AHRF), Chicago, has awarded the Wiley H. Harrison, MD grant to Matthew Bush, MD, Ohio State University, Columbus for his research proposal entitled, “In vitro and in vivo response to HDAC inhibitors by vestibular schwannomas.” The $25,000 grant is for 1 year.

Bush and colleagues will investigate the action of an antitumor drug called HDAC, developed at Ohio State University, on vestibular schwannomas, according to the AHRF.

Vestibular schwannomas are benign tumors that grow on the auditory nerve, which tend to grow very slowly and can gradually lead to hearing loss and deafness, says AHRF. Because they occur on the auditory nerve, cochlear implants (which are implanted on the auditory nerve) are not effective in restoring hearing once it is lost, says AHRF.

Patients with bilateral vestibular schwannomas must have auditory brainstem implants to restore hearing, according to AHRF, adding that the implants bypass the auditory nerve and directly stimulate the brainstem. Treatment for vestibular schwannomas involves microsurgery or radiosurgery/radiotherapy, which carry significant risks to the patient, says AHRF.

Bush hopes that if HDAC shows some success in shrinking vestibular schwannoma tissue culture and in mice, that clinical trials in humans could begin, says AHRF.

The grant is named after Wiley H. Harrison, MD, who was the AHRF’s president from 1998 to 2000, and chairman of the research committee from 1978 to 2000.

[Source: AHRF]