But a nanogel, which starts as a liquid at room temperature and gelatinizes at body temperature, can be used for a slower, more regular drug delivery. “Over that time,” Dr. Choo said of four-month results, “you get a much more sustained drug delivery, and it obviates this problem.” Since CMV-related hearing loss is also associated with an inflammatory response, nanogel has been developed to deliver a combination of both an antiviral and dexamethasone. Safe delivery was shown in guinea pigs in a study published last year. (Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2016;84:132-6.)
Favorable results using nanogel have also been seen in Meniere’s disease, and Dr. Choo said it could potentially be used to help preserve hearing in cochlear implant recipients, for hearing protection in troops, and for other purposes.
Bruce Gantz, MD, professor of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery and neurosurgery at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City, said evidence is mounting that there is a benefit to taking advantage of preserved hearing in combination with cochlear implantation.