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Team behind regenerative hearing study win UCLH award for world class research

The UCLH/UCL team testing whether a new drug can improve hearing in patients with hearing loss have won the Contribution to World Class Research Award at UCLH’s Celebrating Excellence Awards 2019.

The REGAIN trial – led by Professor Anne Schilder (UCL Ear Institute and NIHR UCLH Biomedical Research Centre Deafness and Hearing Problems theme lead) – is the first regenerative hearing study world-wide.

The awards panel said it was an excellent example of the outstanding team work and progress the new BRC theme in hearing is making, led by Prof Schilder.

Damage to the sensory hair cells in the cochlea is a major cause of hearing loss acquired later in life. Damage to these hair cells has long been considered irreversible, but various studies in animals indicate that functioning inner ear sensory hair cells may be regenerated through the use of a small molecule substance called a gamma-secretase inhibitor.

The REGAIN trial team are now testing the drug in patients with hearing loss based on these studies – the first time the study drug is being tested in people.

The trial was covered in the Evening Standard in March 2019.

Winners of the UCLH Celebrating Excellence Awards were announced at a special ceremony at the Royal Lancaster Hotel hosted by TV and radio presented Adrian Chiles.

Professor Marcel Levi, UCLH chief executive, said: “It’s fantastic to be able to celebrate the achievements, hard work and dedication of so many of our brilliant staff. It was an honour to be at the event and I am proud of every single one of you.”