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Funding boost for Curtin health innovators

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Dr Armin Mooranian and Associate Professor Ryu Takechi

Two Curtin University researchers who are developing potentially life changing treatments for hearing loss and Alzheimer’s disease have received Future Health Research and Innovation (FHRI) grants from the State government, announced yesterday.

Dr Armin Mooranian from the Curtin Medical School and Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute (CHIRI) has developed a formulation that delivers a drug to treat hearing loss directly into the inner ear, by combining it with permeation enhancers in a gel. The gel-based antioxidants could help the one in four West Australians who have suffered hearing loss as a result of ageing, as well those affected by exposure to noise or as a side effect of common treatments for infection and cancer.

This new formulation of an existing pharmaceutical to counter hearing loss is less invasive and more affordable than alternate treatments such as cochlear implants, hearing aids or surgery.

Associate Professor Ryu Takechi, the Director of CHIRI, from the Curtin School of Population Health, is researching the development of an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. This research employs a novel approach targeting blood vessels in the brain and involves the development of a new generation of the historic cardiovascular drug- probucol.

The funding will enable clinical trials to test the safety of this second generation drug and whether it stabilises cognitive performance in patients with early Alzheimer’s.

Curtin Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne congratulated Dr Mooranian and Associate Professor Takechi on being recognised for their innovative work in developing solutions to some of the State’s most prevalent medical challenges.

“These important health research projects are wonderful examples of how high-quality research can benefit the wider community. Alzheimer’s disease and hearing loss are both growing health challenges in the WA community and these outstanding Curtin research projects have significant implications for people living with these conditions.”

The FHRI Fellowships 2022-23 program provides funding to 10 talented Western Australians to enable them to develop innovative early-stage processes, products and/or services that address a problem that arises from an unmet health or medical need or opportunity in WA.

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