Research to improve the reliability of cochlear implants

The acute and long-term outcomes of cochlear implantation remain variable and can be unpredictable. One reason is the formation of scar tissue around the electrode which, in some cases, can lead to device failure.

Associate Professor Cecilia Prêle at the University of Western Australia will conduct research to determine if anti-fibrotic drugs can reduce the formation of this scar tissue.

Ear Science researchers have been successful in obtaining over $1million in research funding from the NHMRC, one of the most competitive funding schemes in Australia. This funding will allow us to tackle one of the common problems with cochlear implantation, the formation of scarring (or fibrosis) around the electrode. This reduces the effectiveness of the electrode, and in the worse case can cause the implant to fail. This is a completely new area of investigation. The plan is to test whether anti-fibrotic drugs can reduce scarring. This treatment has already been used to treat scarring in other parts of the body.

The team for this three-year project includes Professor Atlas and Associate Professor Hani Al Salami at Ear Science, Associate Professor Cecilia Prêle at the Perth Lung Institute, and Associate Professor Helmy Mulders at The University of Western Australia.