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Genetics of Otitis Media Study

We are working closely with Dr Mahmood Bhutta, a surgeon at the UCL Ear Institute, on the Genetics of Otitis Media Study. Children with ear inflammation are screened for genetic variants identified in our mouse models of otitis media in order to determine whether these genes are also involved in the human condition.

Inflammation of the ear (otitis media) is very common in children, and may manifest as an ear infection or as fluid in the ear, called ‘glue ear’. Almost every child will have had either an ear infection or an episode of glue ear by the age of five. Most of these episodes resolve, but in some children the problems persist and may lead to a glue ear that is present over many months, or may lead to repeated ear infections.

We do not understand why some children develop a more persistent or repeated problem with their ears. We do know that genes play a significant part, but we do not know the genes responsible. Recently two mice that develop inflammation of their ears have been discovered at MRC Harwell. The Genetics of Otitis Media Study is looking at the DNA of children who have persistent or repeated problems with their ears, and the DNA of their family, to see if the genes that have been found in these mice may be responsible for this same problem in humans (these genes are called Evi1 and Fbxo11).

With permission from the participants, the study will also look at other genes that may be involved in causing ear inflammation. If a gene is discovered that contributes to ear inflammation, it could play a very important role in understanding, preventing and treating these common diseases. This study is being undertaken by a team of scientists at MRC Harwell and the Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences at the University of Oxford, working together with doctors from several hospitals across the UK. The project leader is Dr Mahmood Bhutta, who is an ENT surgeon with an interest in ear research currently working at the UCL Ear Institute.

If you have any questions about this study, in the first instance you should contact the research nurse, Jane Lambie, on 07590 355672. Further information can also be found in the information sheets for potential participants provided below. To read these you will need Adobe PDF reader which you can download for free. You can also read about how we will use your DNA and look after its security. When the results of the study are available, they will be posted on this website, but it is unlikely this will happen before late 2014. For ethical reasons, we are unable to give you information on the genetics of your particular family or family members.