Emerging startup: A company emerging from Joanna Aizenberg’s lab aims to advance the treatment of ear infections with minimally invasive ear tube implants. (Image credit: Aizenberg Lab.)
Each year, more than 700,000 children in the United States have tympanostomy tubes (commonly known as "ear tubes") implanted to treat chronic ear infections, making the placement of ear tubes the most common pediatric surgical procedure. But a significant number of those tubes fail causing complications such as secondary infections and clogging due to the attachment of cells, microbes, and biofluids to the surface of the tube, premature extrusion or failure of the tube to self-extrude, inflammatory reactions, perforations and scarring of the eardrum, resulting in the need for additional surgeries for tube removal and replacement. PionEar Technologies, a startup company emerging from Joanna Aizenberg’s lab, aims to advance the treatment of ear infections with minimally invasive ear tube implants that reduce microbial attachment and enable drug transport into the middle ear. The PionEar team is utilizing a novel technology from the Aizenberg lab to develop a new generation of easy-to-manufacture, customizable, liquid-infused ear tubes based on biocompatible materials that prevent cells, microbes, and biofluids from sticking to the surface, and provides a friction-free conduit for a more effective resolution of infection and targeted drug delivery to treat a broad spectrum of ear diseases.