Cell Replacement Therapy in the Inner Ear: Implications for Cochlear Implantation This article provides an overview of recent advances in inner ear cell replacement therapy. Current strategies designed both to initiate hair cell regeneration and maintain or regenerate neural cells are reviewed. Using animal models, investigators have shown that hearing loss from hair cell and neural degeneration can be reversed through ... Article
Article  |   September 01, 2009
Cell Replacement Therapy in the Inner Ear: Implications for Cochlear Implantation
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Katherine A. Belzner
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
  • Brenda M. Ryals
    Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Article Information
Hearing Aids, Cochlear Implants & Assistive Technology / Balance & Balance Disorders / Articles
Article   |   September 01, 2009
Cell Replacement Therapy in the Inner Ear: Implications for Cochlear Implantation
SIG 9 Perspectives on Hearing and Hearing Disorders in Childhood, September 2009, Vol. 19, 98-107. doi:10.1044/hhdc19.2.98
SIG 9 Perspectives on Hearing and Hearing Disorders in Childhood, September 2009, Vol. 19, 98-107. doi:10.1044/hhdc19.2.98
Abstract

This article provides an overview of recent advances in inner ear cell replacement therapy. Current strategies designed both to initiate hair cell regeneration and maintain or regenerate neural cells are reviewed. Using animal models, investigators have shown that hearing loss from hair cell and neural degeneration can be reversed through molecular and genetic manipulation. Successful strategies in animal models have included the use of growth factors, stem cells, and gene therapy. One significant challenge for the use of these strategies in humans is the development of safe, efficient, and targeted drug delivery systems. Using animal models investigators have shown that cochlear implants can be used to deliver growth factors, such as neurotrophins to the inner ear. Targeting the appropriate neural elements will be important for future application of this technique in humans. Finally, the prognosis for hearing restoration through cell replacement or maintenance therapy will certainly be influenced by the underlying etiology of the hearing loss. Audiologists will play a critical role in the future determination of candidacy for these therapeutic approaches.

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