Doctors have created a 3D printed ear transplant made from human cells.
The New York Times reports that the first of its kind clinical trial was conducted by 3DBio Therapeutics, a regenerative medicine company based in Queens, which created an ear transplant for a 20-year-old made from her living cells.
The ear was engineered to emulate the woman’s other ear and will continue to regenerate cartilage, making it look and feel similar to a natural ear.
The woman, reportedly from Mexico, was born with microtia, a rare congenital disorder, which led to a small and misshapen ear.
The 3D bio printed living tissue ear implant was constructed using AuriNovo™, a ‘groundbreaking’ investigational combination product for reconstruction of the outer ear in patients suffering from microtia, according to the 3DBio Therapeutics website.
The procedure was led by an ear reconstructive surgeon and the founder of the Microtia-Congenital Ear Deformity Institute in San Antonio, Texas Dr Arturo Bonilla.
Following the successful transplant, Dr Bonilla said he is excited for what the future holds for patients diagnosed with a congenital deformities.
He said: “As a physician who has treated thousands of children with microtia from across the country and around the world, I am inspired by what this technology may mean for microtia patients and their families.”
Dr Bonilla added: “This study will allow us to investigate the safety and aesthetic properties of this new procedure for ear reconstruction using the patient’s own cartilage cells.
“My hope is that AuriNovo™ will one day become the standard of care replacing the current surgical methods for ear reconstruction requiring the harvesting of rib cartilage or the use of porous polyethylene (PPE) implants.”
He also said she hopes that a procedure like this will help the growth of ‘confidence’ and ‘self-esteem’ of microtia patients.
The Guardians reports that 3DBio chief executive Dr Daniel Cohen said the latest development was a ‘truly historical moment’ while also teasing the technology could one day extend beyond just the realms of people with microtia.
“Our initial indications focus on cartilage in the reconstructive and orthopedic fields including treating complex nasal defects and spinal degeneration,” he said.
“We look forward to leveraging our platform to solve other high-impact, unmet medical needs like lumpectomy reconstruction and eventually expand to organs.”Featured Image Credit: Alamy. Microtia-Congenital Ear Institute/3DBio Therapeutics.