Scientists Regenerate Ear of Children Using their Own Cells
Scientists successfully regrew a ear in a lab, helping children regain their ears, according to a new research published on February 1, 2018.
A group of scientists made use of ear cartilage cells from one patient suffering from a disorder, to form a new ear. Five children were given regrown ears, as they were suffering from a condition known as microtia. The condition is associated with external ear being underdeveloped, and these children thus underwent experimental surgery to regain their ear’s structure.
The new technique involves a procedure, in which a scan of an unaffected ear is taken, reversing the dimensions and 3D-printing a biodegradable mould punctuated with tiny holes. Cartilage cells are taken from the recipient’s other ear that is unaffected. This is then used to fill the holes while the new ear is undergoing changes in the lab.
The cartilage cells begin to grow, to take the shape of the mould, and the mould itself begins to break down, within three months. The ear is then grafted onto the recipient.
“It’s a very exciting approach. They’ve shown that it is possible to get close to restoring the ear structure.” Said Tessa Hadlock, a reconstructive plastic surgeon at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston.
The recipients will now be monitored for at least five years to evaluate the success of the procedure.
This surgery has the potential to help several other patients around the world suffering from microtia. Further research can result in other genetically engineered body parts someday soon, as predicted by the scientists.
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