Implementing stem cell-based approaches to understand hearing biology and developing novel therapeutics

The hearing therapeutics pipeline is severely lacking human-specific cell-based models to optimise and validate gene therapies and conventional drugs. Stem cell approaches offer the possibility to construct specialised 2D and 3D models of the inner ear, including hair cells and otic neurons, which are the main targets in treating hearing deficits. They would help understand gene and cell functions, model diseases, and evaluate novel therapeutic strategies. This review focuses on how stem cell technologies could be used in these fields to improve hearing research.