- a Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, 555 Technology Square, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
- b Rochester Institute of Technology, Department of Electrical and Microelectronic Engineering, 79 Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623, USA
The inner ear represents one of the most technologically challenging targets for local drug delivery, but its clinical significance is rapidly increasing.
The prevalence of sensorineural hearing loss and other auditory diseases, along with balance disorders and tinnitus, has spurred broad efforts to develop therapeutic compounds and regenerative approaches to treat these conditions, necessitating advances in systems capable of targeted and sustained drug delivery.
The delicate nature of hearing structures combined with the relative inaccessibility of the cochlea by means of conventional delivery routes together necessitate significant advancements in both the precision and miniaturization of delivery systems, and the nature of the molecular and cellular targets for these therapies suggests that multiple compounds may need to be delivered in a time-sequenced fashion over an extended duration.
Here we address the various approaches being developed for inner ear drug delivery, including micropump-based devices, reciprocating systems, and cochlear prosthesis-mediated delivery, concluding with an analysis of emerging challenges and opportunities for the first generation of technologies suitable for human clinical use.
These developments represent exciting advances that have the potential to repair and regenerate hearing structures in millions of patients for whom no currently available medical treatments exist, a situation that requires them to function with electronic hearing augmentation devices or to live with severely impaired auditory function.
These advances also have the potential for broader clinical applications that share similar requirements and challenges with the inner ear, such as drug delivery to the central nervous system.
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- Used with permission from Karger AG Basel and Springer and .