Scientists from a company called 3DBio Therapeutics have successfully transplanted a 3D-printed ear made from the patient’s own cells, marking a first in the field of tissue engineering. The company said that the ear would even continue to grow and generate new cartilage tissue.

  • A rare congenital disease termed microtia caused the patient, a 20-year-old woman, to be born with a tiny and deformed ear.  The company used only half a gram of cells collected from her to cultivate them into billions of cells, which were then 3D printed using a collagen-based bio-ink into a new ear designed to perfectly match the patient’s other ear.

Why It Matters: Arturo Bonilla, the surgeon who performed the procedure, says that the study will allow them to investigate this new method's safety and aesthetic properties in ear reconstruction. He emphasized how this technology can become a gamechanger for thousands of children born with microtia worldwide.

The Road Ahead: 3DBio Therapeutics now aims to apply the same technique to other body parts like spinal discs, noses, and rotator cuffs. However, printing more complex body parts such as organs is expected to present a far greater challenge than the ear.

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