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Web Exclusive | May 2017

Silk to solve ear trouble

Research effort on silk membranes as eardrum implants by Australian Scientists is closer to reality.

London-based UK Wellcome Trust has provided a major grant worth a few million dollars towards the development of silk membranes and its clinical trials, according to Deakin University in Australia. Deakin University and Ear Science Institute of Australia are the winners of the major grant, which will enable the research to progress towards clinical trials.

Researchers, Rangam Rajkhowa and Ben Allardyce of Deakins’s Institute for Frontier Materials have developed silk based membranes along with scientists at the Ear Science Institute. According to the researchers, silk membranes are thin and vibrate like natural eardrum. As they are biocompatible, they biodegrade when natural eardrum is regenerated.

The clinical trials will evaluate how the membranes adapt to the human ear environment. According to Professor Xungai Wang, Director of the Institute for Frontier Materials at Deakin, the three-year project has been funded by Wellcome Trust as part of its Translation Fund.
By: Seshadri Ramkumar, Texas Tech University, USA
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