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Tinnitus study looks for cure to 'ringing in the ears'
Date:8/11/2010

ab, and the other portion will further research by MicroTransponder, a biomedical start-up company that works in conjunction with UT Dallas researchers and has helped bring in more than $6 million in grants in the past two years.

MicroTransponder is attempting to develop a less invasive method for delivering the electric charge that stimulates the vagus nerve in the neck. Currently, Kilgard uses wires attached to the neck to stimulate the nerve. The goal is to create a remotely controlled device similar to the technology used for toll tags on highways, Kilgard said.

Will Rosellini, a PhD student in neuroscience at UT Dallas, is CEO of MicroTransponder. Dr. Larry Cauller, associate professor of neuroscience, developed the neural interface technology that led to MicroTransponder. He is the company's chief science officer.

"For medical devices, the ultimate goal is to have the least invasive procedure possible, but this is usually accomplished in an iterative fashion, with each new version being less invasive than the past," Rosellini said. "The eventual goal is to have our SAINT System be injectable via a needle, but there are several intermediary versions of the device that must be developed and thoroughly tested before that will be possible."

Rosellini said Dr. Roger Miller, a scientific program director at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, has been a champion of MicroTransponder's efforts to use VNS to combat tinnitus. Kilgard said Miller has been "extremely helpful in advancing the new therapy closer to a clinical reality."

The VNS treatment would be an improvement over current therapies involving medications or counseling because it offers a possible permanent end to the condition, an actual cure instead of just a treatment, Kilgard said. Current therapies have limited success and frequently must be modified over time because they cease to be effective.

MicroTransponder and
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Contact: Emily Martinez
emily.martinez@utdallas.edu
University of Texas at Dallas
Source:Eurekalert

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