Tutorial  |   December 2011
Biotechnology in the Treatment of Sensorineural Hearing Loss: Foundations and Future of Hair Cell Regeneration
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Mark A. Parker
    Emerson College, Boston, MA
  • Mark Parker has moved from Emerson College to St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Brighton, MA, where he maintains his affiliations with Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.
    Mark Parker has moved from Emerson College to St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Brighton, MA, where he maintains his affiliations with Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.×
  • Correspondence to Mark Parker: mark_parker@meei.harvard.edu
  • Editor: Robert Schlauch
    Editor: Robert Schlauch×
  • Associate Editor: Ed Rubel
    Associate Editor: Ed Rubel×
Hearing & Speech Perception / Hearing Disorders / Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Tutorial
Tutorial   |   December 2011
Biotechnology in the Treatment of Sensorineural Hearing Loss: Foundations and Future of Hair Cell Regeneration
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research December 2011, Vol.54, 1709-1731. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0149)
History: Accepted 05 Jan 2011 , Received 04 Jun 2010 , Revised 08 Nov 2010
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research December 2011, Vol.54, 1709-1731. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0149)
History: Accepted 05 Jan 2011 , Received 04 Jun 2010 , Revised 08 Nov 2010

Purpose: To provide an overview of the methodologies involved in the field of hair cell regeneration. First, the author provides a tutorial on the biotechnological foundations of this field to assist the reader in the comprehension and interpretation of the research involved in hair cell regeneration. Next, the author presents a review of stem cell and gene therapy and provides a critical appraisal of their application to hair cell regeneration. The methodologies used in these approaches are highlighted.

Method: The author conducted a narrative review of the fields of cellular, molecular, and developmental biology, tissue engineering, and stem cell and gene therapy using the PubMed database.

Results: The use of biotechnological approaches to the treatment of hearing loss—approaches such as stem cell and gene therapy—has led to new methods of regenerating cochlear hair cells in mammals.

Conclusions: Incredible strides have been made in assembling important pieces of the puzzle that comprise hair cell regeneration. However, mammalian hair cell regeneration using stem cell and gene therapy are years—if not decades—away from being clinically feasible. If the goals of the biological approaches are met, these therapies may represent future treatments for hearing loss.

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