Menu

Children Receive Bespoke, Lab-Grown Ears

The tissue, grown on a 3-D scaffold and seeded from the kids’ own cells, was transplanted to correct deformities in their cartilage.

Jan 30, 2018
Kerry Grens

G. SHOU ET AL., EBIOMEDICINE, DOI:10.1016/J.EBIOME.2018.01.011, 2018Five children have had ear reconstruction using lab-grown cartilage that was seeded from their own cells and grown on 3-D-printed molds, researchers reported in EBioMedicine earlier this month (January 12).

“It’s a very exciting approach,” Tessa Hadlock at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston tells New Scientist. “They’ve shown that it is possible to get close to restoring the ear structure.”

The kids were between the ages of 6 and 10 years old and all had microtia, a malformation of the external ear. The researchers took a sample of cartilage from each child, harvested the cartilage-forming cells (called chondrocytes), expanded them, and then grew them on a mold that was build from a CT scan of the patient’s normal ear. The tissue was then implanted into a skin flap to reconstruct the ear, a process that all told took several months.

The first child has been followed for two and a half years, and the authors reported in their study that they are happy with the results, having “achieved satisfactory aesthetical outcome with mature cartilage formation.”

“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 of Cornell University tells CNN. “This work clearly shows tissue engineering approaches for reconstruction of the ear and other cartilaginous tissues will become a clinical reality very soon.”

Previously, scientists had been able to transplant human ears into mice. Bonassar tells CNN that the challenges to expanding the use of the technique in humans include regulatory oversight and scaling up the personalized process.  

November 2018

Intelligent Science

Wrapping our heads around human smarts

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Slice® Safety Cutters for Lab Work

Slice® Safety Cutters for Lab Work

Slice cutting tools—which feature our patent-pending safety blades—meet many lab-specific requirements. Our scalpels and craft knives are well suited for delicate work, and our utility knives are good for general use.

The Lab of the Future: Alinity Poised to Reinvent Clinical Diagnostic Testing and Help Improve Healthcare

The Lab of the Future: Alinity Poised to Reinvent Clinical Diagnostic Testing and Help Improve Healthcare

Every minute counts when waiting for accurate diagnostic test results to guide critical care decisions, making today's clinical lab more important than ever. In fact, nearly 70 percent of critical care decisions are driven by a diagnostic test.

LGC announces new, integrated, global portfolio brand, Biosearch Technologies, representing genomic tools for mission critical customer applications

LGC announces new, integrated, global portfolio brand, Biosearch Technologies, representing genomic tools for mission critical customer applications

LGC’s Genomics division announced it is transforming its branding under LGC, Biosearch Technologies, a unified portfolio brand integrating optimised genomic analysis technologies and tools to accelerate scientific outcomes.