Ototoxicity (Inner Ear Problems)
Non-genetic risk factors for ototoxicity (inner ear problems, such as hearing loss, tinnitus, dizziness and vertigo) will be identified in WP5, led by Prof. Thorsten Langer of the University of Leubeck (UzL). Prof. Antoinette am Zehnhoff-Dinnesen of the University of Münster (UKM) leads the Audiological Reference Centre. Different types of hearing deterioration will be assessed by hearing (audiology) experts to develop a scoring scheme for risk assessment. A number of researchers are active at the Audiological Reference Centre, including Dr. Ross Parfitt, Dr. Amélie Tillmanns and two medical students, Lukas Linß and Friederike Krings. Docent Dirk Deuster and Peter Matalut have developed and maintain the audiological database. The genetic (WP4) and non-genetic risk factors during the project will form the basis for future development of preventive strategies. Analyses will include both cohort and case-control approaches.
In the first two years of the project, the WP5 team worked to identify what survivor information they needed for their planned studies, in particular focusing on the information required from survivor hearing tests. They also looked at what information they would collect that overlapped with the genetic studies of hearing impairment (WP4) and studies of quality of life (WP6), working with WP1 to harmonize their approaches. The WP team supported their data providers in their ethics submissions and in assessing their available data. In year three and four of the project, the WP5 team have been supporting their data providers as they collect and send their data to the data centre. Researchers in the Audiological Reference Centre in UKM also assessed over 11,500 audiograms to identify survivors who could be included in our studies and providing data on hearing loss to the data centre. In the final year of the project, the WP5 team will use the final datasets from the data centre to identify non-genetic risk factors for ototoxicity.
Management Team visits Audiological Reference Centre (left), audiogram collection demonstration by Prof. am Zehnhoff-Dinnesen and Dr. Parfitt, (centre and right)