Joint Research Office


New consortium to improve treatments for middle ear infection and chronic otitis media

12 June 2020

A new consortium consisting of UCL, the UCLH BRC and the Medical Research Council (MRC) Harwell Institute in Oxfordshire is to investigate and develop novel treatments for otitis media (OM) – the middle ear disease.

The Otitis Media Consortium (UKOMeCon) will bring together the expertise of scientists and clinicians and is inviting biotech and pharmaceutical companies, clinicians and academics to engage with it to discuss:

-          New treatment ideas
-          Forming partnerships to develop and test novel therapeutics and innovative delivery mechanisms
-          Securing research funding.

Professor Anne Schilder, Director of the Deafness and Hearing Problems theme within the UCLH BRC, will lead on the consortium’s work at UCLH and UCL. Professor Steve Brown, Director of the MRC Harwell Institute will lead on the consortium’s work at MRC Harwell.

OM can present as an acute middle ear infection with ear pain, fever and general illness, or as glue ear which is the most common cause of hearing loss in young children.  OM is among the most common indications for antibiotic prescribing and surgery in this age group, with a large impact on families and carers due to doctors’ visits and time lost from work to care for a sick child. Current medical and surgical treatments come with side effects and their benefits are limited and short lived; new treatments to prevent or cure OM are therefore urgently needed. 

To develop such new treatment approaches, researchers first need an improved understanding of the molecular and genetic basis of the disease.

Representatives from biotech and pharmaceutical companies, clinicians and academics interested in working in partnership with the UKOMeCon should contact Nicola Ridgway, the UCLH BRC ’s Translational Research Manager: n.ridgway@ucl.ac.uk.