The first successful 3D-printed ear made from human cells was implanted into a patient by the US-based regenerative medicine company 3DBio Therapeutics.
Once thought to be a fantasy, replacement body parts are a reality.
The first clinical trial of 3D-printed human-cell grafts included this transplant as one component of a larger, cutting-edge project.
With this development, tissue engineering and artificial tissue implants have advanced significantly.
According to Arturo Bonilla,
the lead surgeon performing the ear reconstruction procedure,
“if everything goes as planned,
this will revolutionize the way this is done.”
Microtia is the term used to describe the patient’s condition.
A small or underdeveloped external ear, ranging from a small, misshapen ear to a lack of the outer ear entirely, is a congenital deformity of the ear.
In some cases, the inner ear and hearing are unaffected,
but in other circumstances, hearing loss may occur.
The patient can receive personalized tissue implants or grafts made of synthetic material to replace their ears.
It involves extracting cartilage cells from samples of the patient’s existing ear tissue.
They are subsequently multiplied in cultures and used as bio-ink in 3D printers to create new ears.
The patient is then given this as a graft.
Because the ears are made from the patient’s cells,
they are much less likely to be rejected and continue to regenerate cartilage throughout the patient’s lifetime.
Since there is still a chance that the trial might very well fail,
the company is still working with 11 patients.
The business plans to investigate the creation of replacements for various body parts using 3D printing in the future, with the ultimate goal of producing complex organs like the kidney or liver.