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Record ID: 58
Award: Excellence in Research Mentoring
Program Affiliation: Univeristy Honors Program
Student Major: Speech Language Hearing Sciences
Project Advisor: Brian Earl
Abstract: Cholesteatomas are cyst-like growths in the middle ear that result in hearing loss, ear drainage, facial nerve paralysis, and meningitis. Surgery is the standard treatment for patients that are diagnosed with these growths. Virotherapy is currently being investigated as a non-surgical treatment for reducing the size of cholesteatomas and extend the quality of life. Previous research has shown promising results that virotherapy may eradicate malignant melanoma, prostate cancer, and sarcomas. The treatment is performed by presenting a series of injections to reduce the size of the cholesteatoma. When surgical procedures are utilized for treatment, the reduction in size contributes to greater results in removal of the cholesteatoma. In this model, researchers have detected a significant change in size of cholesteatoma. The treatment can be used in combination with surgical intervention to reduce the recurrence of cholesteatomas. In this study, the gerbil model is utilized to explore the impact of cholesteatoma and long-term treatment with virotherapy on the inner ear. A technique called auditory evoked potentials via bone conduction is used to bypass the ear canal and middle ear to assess the inner ear directly. This procedure involving stimulation of the skull with vibratory energy was used to evoke verifiable responses from the inner ears of five gerbils. Gerbils were selected as the test subject due to the similarities in anatomy to humans. Ultimately, the purpose of the study is to extend a clinical technique for assessment of inner ear acuity in an animal model of cholesteatoma receiving virotherapy.