“In the beginning of our research with AUT00063, we only focused on ARHL,” she said. “But given the overlap we were seeing in how important the brain is to both hearing loss and tinnitus and the strong preclinical data we got in tinnitus models, we realized there was an opportunity to study both conditions and potentially have a huge societal impact, given how prevalent they are in our aging population.”
A Focus on Acute Disease
While Autifony continues its focus on patients whose tinnitus has shifted to a chronic, centralized pattern of symptoms, Dr. Meyer and his research team at Auris Medical are focused on the acute stage of the hearing disorder, before it becomes centralized and is no longer amenable to treatment.
Their weapon of choice is AM-101, a drug that targets N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) activity. NMDA receptors, he explained, are located at the post-synapse of inner hair cells and become activated after traumatic injury (Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1999;884:249-254). In some cases, acute hearing loss and tinnitus resolve spontaneously after such injury. In other instances, however, NMDA receptors remain pathologically active and generate the phantom “noise” that typifies tinnitus, Dr. Meyer said.