Magnetic injection of drug-coated nanoparticles to deliver therapy to the middle and inner ear

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08 October 2012

Presenter(s): Dr Benjamin Shapiro
Time: 13.00 – 14.00
Location: NHBRU, Meeting Room 1


We have invented, optimized, and tested in animal experiments a magnetic injection system that can safely deliver therapeutics to the inner and middle ear. In contrast to prior magnetic systems, which can only pull-on (attract) magnetic nanoparticles and so would have to pull through the width of the human head in order to delivery nano-therapy into the middle or inner ear, our system can push (it can magnetically inject). This allows us to use reasonable (safe, below FDA limits) magnetic fields over a short distance to delivery therapies into the middle or inner ear.

Figure 1: Schematic of our system to push magnetic nanoparticles into the inner ear. (a) The novel magnet injector creates a displaced magnetic node that pushes nanoparticles into the inner ear.  (b) Anticipated clinical use.

The inner ear is behind the blood-labyrinth barrier, thus drugs taken orally or injected systemically do not elute out of inner-ear blood vessels to reach inner ear tissue. It is thought that drugs delivered intra-tympanically into the middle ear also do not cross the oval window membranes sufficiently to effectively treat inner ear diseases. We have shown in preliminary rat experiments that our magnetic push forces can safely drive drug coated nanoparticles through the oval window membranes from the middle into the inner ear (without effecting hearing or causing other measurable side effects). Using steroid-coated nano-particles we have shown therapeutic effect for treatment of acute tinnitus and noise-induced hearing loss. We have also demonstrated that magnetic pushing can drive nano-particles through the tympanic membrane, providing a non-invasive alternative to syringe or laser intra-tympanic injection.

In this talk I will summarize how our magnetic system works, compare it to prior results (e.g. the magnetic delivery work of Kopke that used magnetic pull forces in guinea pigs), and present our preliminary animal data. I am looking forward to comments and input from clinicians during and after the talk.