5 Children Have New Ears Grown From Their Own Cells in a World First
Cartilage cells called chondrocytes were harvested from the non-deformed ears by the scientists and then used to create a new ear for the other side of the head through a process of cell culturing.
With the help of computed tomography or CT scans of the healthy ears, a 3D-printed framework was created that the newly growing ear could expand into. Over time, natural cells replaced almost all of the artificial scaffolding.
Finally, the new ears were attached and reconstruction was completed, with some small cosmetic surgery procedures applied afterwards.
This kind of biological technology is actually several years old, but this is the first time it’s been used so effectively in human beings – the first of these implants was fitted 30 months ago, suggesting the long-term prospects are good.
“The delivery of shaped cartilage for the reconstruction of microtia has been a goal of the tissue engineering community for more than two decades,” Lawrence Bonassar, a biomedical engineering professor from Cornell University in New York who wasn’t involved in the study, told Jacqueline Howard at CNN.
Using a combination of 3-D printing and cultured cells, scientists in China have grown new ears for five children born with a defect in one ear called microtia, which impacts the shape and function of the ear.
In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers describe how they collected cartilage cells called chondrocytes from the children’s microtia ears and used them to grow new ear-shaped cartilage. The new cartilage was based on 3-D-printed models of the children’s healthy ears.
Then, the researchers transferred the newly engineered ears to the children and performed ear reconstruction, according to a study published this month in the journal EBioMedicine.
“We were able to successfully design, fabricate, and regenerate patient-specific external ears,” the researchers wrote in their study, which followed each child for up to 2½ years.
“Nevertheless, further efforts remain necessary to eventually translate this prototype work into routine clinical practices,” they wrote. “In the future, long-term (up to 5 years) follow-up of the cartilage properties and clinical outcomes … will be essential.”
Scientists have grown a perfectly compatible ear in a lab and grafted it onto a patient, in what they said was a world first in regenerative medicine.
The groundbreaking technique saw them use the patient’s own ear cartilage cells to form a new one.
Five children suffering from a condition known as microtia, in which the external ear is underdeveloped, have undergone the experimental surgery.
The first child to have the procedure two-and-a-half years ago was showing no signs the body has rejected or accidentally absorbed the new cells, the Chinese team who developed the procedure wrote when they published their findings in the journal EBioMedicine.
Currently the widely used treatments for microtia include the use of silicone prosthetic ears, or rib-cartilage reconstruction, which has mixed results.
The new technique involves taking a scan of the child’s unaffected ear, reversing the dimensions and 3D-printing a biodegradable mould punctuated with tiny holes.
Five children from China born with malformed ears have had them regrown using cells from their own bodies.
Using a groundbreaking process to grow body parts from cells in a laboratory, researchers in China gave the children ears to replace their own, underdeveloped ears. They each had a condition called microtia, which causes their ears to be extremely small and misshapen.
The researchers began by taking a computed tomography imaging scan of each patient’s normal ear. That image was then reversed and 3-D printed. A mold of the printed ear was filled with a biodegradable substance that would dissolve in the human body. This shape acted as a scaffolding; cartilage cells from the patient were added to it which could then grow on their own. As the cartilage cells divided, the scaffolding, which subsequently dissolved, forced them into the shape of an ear.
That false ear was implanted under each patient’s skin, which had been expanded to accommodate the shape. The result is an ear-shaped organ, made in the lab and grafted onto a patient, ready to wear it out in the world.
Chinese Scientists Make New Ears for Children
h/t Digital mix guy