Some encouraging news on the hunt for a cure for sensorineural hearing loss: GenVec and Novartis have announced they intend to resume the Phase 1/2 (human) trials of CGF166.
For about 90% of people suffering from hearing loss, including me, the cause is sensorineural: the dying off of the hair cells in the cochlea that sense vibrations and convert them into neural electrical signals that flow to the brain.
(I have posted some background on the subject here.)
CFG166 is a biopharmaceutical agent developed by GenVec. Essentially it’s a very novel bit of genetic engineering designed to regenerate hair cells, and restore some level of lost hearing.
It’s now being tested in clinical trials by GenVec’s partner Novartis. Nine people had received it. But then in January, Novartis announced that they had paused enrolling more people for the trials pending a review.
The review by the study’s Data Safety Monitoring Board has been completed, and last month it recommended that the trial continue (subject to FDA approval).
“We believe that enrollment will start again in the coming months and that the trial will be completed sometime in 2017, as previously expected.”
– J. Swirsky, president and CEO of GenVec.
If CFG166 ever makes it to the marketing department they will likely end up giving it some pseudo latinate name like Otoagra or Earyola. I don’t care what they call it as long as it’s safe and effective. Fingers crossed.