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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

A Human Ear Made of Human Cells Is Transplanted by Doctors Using a 3-D Printer

A lady who was born with a tiny and deformed right ear has gotten a 3-D printed ear implant manufactured from her own cells, the manufacturer reported on Thursday. The woman, who is 20 years old, was born with the condition. The transplant, which was part of the first clinical study of a successful medical use of this technique, was described as a monumental step forward in the area of tissue engineering by scientists working independently from one another.

3DBio has issued a press statement in which it discusses the outcomes of the reconstructive surgery performed on the lady. The corporation has not publicly published the technical specifics of the method, citing proprietary issues as the reason. This makes it more difficult for other specialists to assess the procedure. The firm said that the trial design had been examined by federal officials, and that tight manufacturing standards had been established. Additionally, the company stated that the results will be published in a medical journal after the research was finished.

As the clinical research, which now consists of 11 individuals, is not yet complete, there is a chance that the transplants may be unsuccessful or that they will bring about unforeseen health consequences. However, due to the fact that the cells came from the patient’s own tissue, it is very unlikely that the body would reject the new ear, according to the physicians and executives from the firm.

The accomplishment of 3DBio, which has been in the works for the last seven years, is one of many recent triumphs in the effort to enhance organ and tissue transplantation. A 57-year-old man in Maryland who was suffering from heart disease received a heart from a genetically modified pig in January. As a result of the procedure, the man’s life was extended by two months. This week, surgeons in Switzerland announced that a patient who got a human liver that had been maintained for three days was still healthy after receiving it a year ago. Scientists are now investigating procedures to prolong the life of donor organs so that they do not go to waste.

According to a spokeswoman for the business, United Therapeutics Corp., which donated the genetically altered pig for the heart treatment, is also doing research on the use of 3-D printing in order to generate lungs that may be used in transplants. In addition, researchers at the Israel Institute of Technology announced in September that they had successfully printed a network of blood arteries. This network of blood vessels would be required in order to give blood to transplanted tissues.

In the past, businesses have taken use of 3-D printing technology to make prosthetic limbs composed of plastic and lightweight metals that were tailored to the individual user. However, the ear implant, which claims to be the first known example of a 3-D printed implant consisting of live tissues, appears to have been manufactured from a small glob of cells that were extracted from the woman’s deformed ear.

The patient, who hails from Mexico, was born with the very uncommon birth defect known as microtia. This condition causes the auricle, which is the portion of the ear that is visible from the outside, to be deformed and tiny (it also can affect hearing in the ear). Executives of the firm have said that the technique might be used to manufacture a wide variety of additional replacement body parts, such as spinal discs, noses, knee menisci, rotator cuffs, and reconstructive tissue for lumpectomies, if more study is conducted. They speculated that in the not too distant future, 3D printing would even be able to construct far more complicated essential organs, such as livers, kidneys, and pancreases.

The collagen was injected into the customised 3-D bio-printer using a syringe. The bio-printer then squirted out the material from a nozzle in a consistent, thin stream. This created a tiny oblong form that was a mirror image of the patient’s healthy ear. Less than ten minutes were spent on the printing process in its entirety.

After that, the ear form that had been manufactured was enclosed in a protective biodegradable shell, and it was sent overnight to Dr. Bonilla in a cold storage facility. After that, he placed the ear into the patient’s skin, right above her jawline, in order to complete the procedure. As the surrounding tissue was pulled tauter around the implant, the appearance of an ear began to take form.

Alexa said that she had mastered the technique of concealing her missing ear by wearing her hair in a long and carefree style. As a result, the majority of people were unable to discern that she was deaf in one ear. But now, she added, she is excited to play around with her hair again, putting it back in pigtails or pulling it up into a bun.

Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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