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Scientists find silk solution to eardrum repair

Friday, October 12, 2012 - 01:26

Oct. 12 - Researchers in Perth, Western Australia say they are excited by research showing the effectiveness of silk in repairing damaged ear drums. Unlike conventional materials, silk can be used as a scaffold to grow cells, repair the damage and allow hearing to return. Rob Muir has more.

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Often, with a damaged ear drum comes impaired hearing. Conventional treatment involving surgical grafts of the patient's own tissue or synthetic materials are not always successful. But now, researchers led by Professor Marcus Atlas at Perth's Ear Science Institute say they have found a potentially far better solution. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PROFESSOR MARCUS ATLAS - DIRECTOR OF THE EAR SCIENCE INSTITUTE OF AUSTRALIA, SAYING:"We came up with a better method and that was the use of silk, and silk comes from the silk worm cocoon." And using the silk membrane as a scaffold, the researchers were able to grow human ear drum cells to replicate an ear drum. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PROFESSOR MARCUS ATLAS - DIRECTOR OF THE EAR SCIENCE INSTITUTE OF AUSTRALIA, SAYING:"We found out that it's really effective and it was the most effective of all of the products including the ones that we conventionally use." Additonally, post-operative recovery time is faster according to Dr. Rodney Dilley. SOUNDBITE) (English) DOCTOR RODNEY DILLEY - HEAD OF MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR OTOLARYNGOLOGY, EAR SCIENCE INSTITUTE OF AUSTRALIA, SAYING:"It helps to cut down the likelihood of infection entering the middle ear cavity." And the need for surgery and full anesthethic could be reduced. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DOCTOR RODNEY DILLEY - HEAD OF MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR OTOLARYNGOLOGY, EAR SCIENCE INSTITUTE OF AUSTRALIA, DOCTOR RODNEY DILLEY SAYING: "Meaning that they can come into the outpatient clinic, have a procedure and go home the same day and be hearing almost immediately through that damaged ear." (SOUNDBITE) (English) PROFESSOR MARCUS ATLAS - DIRECTOR OF THE EAR SCIENCE INSTITUTE OF AUSTRALIA, SAYING:"I believe it's really one of the most exciting things that has happened to ear drum repair." After ten years of research the team is about to start clinical trials with humans. They say they're eager to begin. .

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Scientists find silk solution to eardrum repair

Friday, October 12, 2012 - 01:26