DECIBEL THERAPEUTICS TO STUDY INNER EAR REGENERATIVE MEDICINE
Decibel Therapeutics’ new research initiative will focus on regenerative medicine approaches for the inner ear, leveraging the company's insights into regulatory pathways and inner ear delivery mechanisms that together enable precise control over gene expression. The first program in Decibel's regeneration portfolio aims to restore balance function using an AAV-based gene therapy (DB-201), which utilizes a cell-specific promoter to selectively deliver a regeneration-promoting gene to target cells. In collaboration with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Decibel will initially evaluate DB-201 as a treatment for bilateral vestibulopathy, and ultimately try to apply it to other balance disorders. The company expects to initiate IND-enabling experiments for this program in the first half of 2020. Decibel is also pursuing novel targets for the regeneration of critical cells in the vestibule and cochlea of the inner ear through a worldwide exclusive option agreement with The Rockefeller University, which has discovered a novel series of small-molecule LATS inhibitors. LATS kinases are a core component of the Hippo signaling pathway, which plays a key role in regulating tissue regeneration and the proliferation of inner ear cells that are crucial to hearing and balance. Decibel said they will continue to advance existing preclinical and clinical programs, including DB-020, the company's clinical-stage candidate designed to prevent hearing damage in patients receiving cisplatin chemotherapy, and DB-OTO, a gene therapy for the treatment of genetic congenital deafness that is expected to progress to clinical trials in 2021.
HEALTHFIRST AND NATIONSHEARING TEAM UP TO EXTEND HEARING CARE FOR MEDICARE MEMBERS
All eligible Healthfirst Medicare Advantage plan members will be able to access NationsHearing's network for all hearing aid-related and hearing services, including testing for hearing loss, beginning January 2020, under a new partnership between the two companies. The goal is to improve Medicare Advantage plan members’ access to hearing tests and make hearing aids more affordable. Paul Portsmore, the senior vice president of Healthfirst, said this is an important new service for their Medicare Advantage members facing hearing challenges. “Hearing loss affects physical health, putting people at risk of falls and disability,” said Portsmore. “Through NationsHearing, our members will have access to quality hearing coverage, including cost-efficient hearing tests and hearing aids. By helping our members manage their hearing loss, we hope to reduce hearing-associated diseases.”
OTICON RELEASES EDUMIC TO IMPROVE SPEECH UNDERSTANDING FOR CHILDREN AT SCHOOL
Oticon's new wireless remote microphone system EduMic aims at helping children with hearing loss understand speech in the classroom and overcome the noise, distance, and reverberation challenges that are common in the school instruction setting. EduMic works together with Oticon's pediatric hearing aids, Oticon Opn Play and Oticon Xceed Play. It requires no ear-level receiver, works seamlessly with the wireless receiver system integrated into Oticon's pediatric hearing aids, and is compatible with existing classroom remote microphone systems. Teachers can easily and quickly connect EduMic to existing microphone systems using a Europin connection without having to wear two microphones. The 2.4 GHz technology provides a stable signal and connects to an unlimited number of hearing aids. Even in a typical Wi-Fi-heavy classroom environment, the signal strength remains strong and stable. Two LED indicators let teachers know the status of the device at a glance. Teachers can plug EduMic into a computer, smartboard, or tablet using the 3.5 audio microphone jack connection. They can also easily unplug the EduMic and take it with them when moving to another classroom. EduMic features a sleek, modern design, and 10-hour battery life.
BLUEPRINT SOLUTIONS SOFTWARE ADDS ESCO FEATURE
Blueprint Solutions has integrated with ESCO's free Custom Reminder Care program to provide practices with a fully automated solution to improve patient loyalty. Once set up, ESCO automatically receives data from Blueprint OMS and sends customized letters to notify patients with soon-to-expire warranties that it's time to extend their coverage. Letters can be tailored to a clinic's requirement, including logo and specific office and staff information. Blueprint Solutions continues to introduce automation of numerous daily tasks such as marketing, recalls, appointment reminders, and online reviews, said Henrik Nielsen, the president of Blueprint Solutions. “Our latest integration with ESCO's free warranty mailing service is yet another addition to our ‘set-and-forget’ functions, freeing up more staff time for patient care,” he said.