According to the World Health Organisation, more than 360 million people worldwide suffer from hearing loss. Approximately one third of the population over 65 years old is affected by age-realted hearing loss, also known as presbycusis, making it the second most common cause of disability in older people (1). There is no restorative treatment for deafness but functional replacement by means of prosthesis. Therefore, prevention and treatment of hearing loss is an unmet medical need.
The TARGEAR project is an Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP) – Marie Curie Action constituted by experienced research groups in complementary fields ranging from the molecular to the clinical aspects of age-related hearing loss. The general objective is to develop a collaborative strategy between public research institutes and private companies, based in transfer of knowledge, to design and implement preclinical studies for presbyacusis. A second general objective is to contribute to the formation of early-stage researchers in the experimental design, transfer and translation of knowledge in the field of hearing loss.
It is essential for Europe future aged population to have well-trained people available to understand hearing loss from a general perspective. According to this, the foreseen secondments and training activities will involve a total of 15 experienced and early-stage researchers.
In the end, TARGEAR project will develop a stronger biomedical research in hearing loss for a better future for the deaf people.
Our general objective is to develop a collaborative strategy between public research centres and private companies, based in the transfer of knowledge, to design and implement preclinical studies for age-related hearing loss, also named presbycusis. A second general objective is to contribute to the formation of early-stage researchers (ESR) and ER in the experimental design, transfer and translation of knowledge in the field of hearing loss.
The overall long-term objective is to develop a stronger biomedical research in hearing loss for a better future for the deaf people.
- To further identify the stages and molecular elements of the damage and repair processes involved in age-related hearing loss.
- To improve the experimental design of preclinical studies in animal models of human hearing loss.
- To test the potential of synthetic molecules to protect and repair otic cells and to prevent age-related hearing loss in animal models.
- To transfer knowledge from research centres to industry in the field of age-related hearing loss.
- To improve the design of electrophysiological procedures to understand sound central processing by sharing knowledge among company experts, basic and clinically-oriented researchers.
- To improve the professional career of ESR and ER with an emphasis in MD-PhD-young doctors through training periods in industry and academia-hospital environments in the field of hearing loss.
The three basic research groups will collaborate by exchanging staff, information, tools and biological samples.
Chart summarizing partners activities and interactions:
In addition to the research programs (WP1-WP3), there will be training sessions (WP4) jointly developed by the Project partners (see Chart above). The objective will be to transfer knowledge from the clinical practice to basic researchers in order to improve experimental designs that could be later translated back to the clinic.
(1) World Health Organisation (WHO): http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs300/en/