Based in Missouri, Thomas Brutnell guides Viridis Genomics Consulting and works with business and academic clients in the plant biotechnology sphere. As Gateway Biotechnology, Inc.’s vice president, Thomas Brutnell is spearheading next-generation research and development for preventing noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and tinnitus through innovative drug solutions. This approach uses repurposed medications with extensive safety records behind them to quickly move effective treatments to the market.
In October 2019, Gateway Biotechnology announced that it had received US patent number 10,434,097 for the development of tetrandrine (TET), a compound isolated from a plant used in traditional Chinese medicine. The patent draws on NIH-funded research that has demonstrated that TET is capable of protecting against more than 80 percent of noise treatment-induced damage.
As the firm’s cofounder and CEO Jianxin Bao, PhD, described it, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any therapeutics against NIHL to-date, which is a major worldwide health issue that can result in tinnitus, or a persistent ringing in the ears. The plan is to rapidly transition TET into clinical studies that can help bring a therapy at the vanguard of science to market.
Biotechnologist Thomas Brutnell is the vice president of Gateway Biotechnology based in St. Louis, Missouri. Thomas Brutnell oversees research and development of both natural plant products and repurposed drugs that prevent noise-induced and age-related hearing loss.
Age-related hearing loss, also called presbycusis, is a common condition among seniors, affecting one in three people aged 65 and 74. As a person gets older, their hearing can deteriorate, making it harder to perceive or distinguish sounds. The loss happens gradually such that many seniors don’t even know they have difficulty hearing. However, a person who has trouble hearing the other voice on the telephone, is often asking people to repeat what they said, cannot hear over background noise, thinks that others are mumbling, or can’t distinguish between the voices of women and children, is most likely suffering from hearing loss.
There are a number of factors that have been attributed to age-related hearing loss. They include exposure to drugs that harm sensory cells in the ears like some chemotherapy medications, exposure to loud noise, injuries like a punctured ear drum, age-related conditions like diabetes and stroke, or changes in the ear-to-brain nerve pathways. In some cases, genetics also plays a role.
If you or someone you know has age-related hearing loss, consult a physician immediately. While the condition is serious, there are hearing devices and treatments that can improve one’s hearing.