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Woman receives 3D-printed ear implant grown from her own cells in major breakthrough

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A surgery for reconstructing a patient’s ear together with her own tissue using 3D printing technology was successfully accomplished by doctors within the US.

The breakthrough surgery may result in recent ways to treat individuals with a rare birth defect, 3DBio Therapeutics, the corporate that developed the implant, said in an announcement.

The pioneering procedure – performed by a team led by pediatric ear reconstructive surgeon Arturo Bonilla – was a part of an early-stage clinical trial to guage the protection and efficacy of the “AuriNovo implant” for individuals with microtia.

Surgeons said the trial will analyse the protection and aesthetic properties of the novel procedure for ear reconstruction using the patient’s own cartilage cells.

Microtia is a rare genetic condition during which the external ear is small and never formed properly, affecting around 1,500 babies born within the US annually.

“As a physician who has treated hundreds of kids with microtia from across the country and all over the world, I’m inspired by what this technology may mean for microtia patients and their families,” Dr Bonilla said.

He hopes the implant would eventually replace the present treatment for the congenital deformity that involves grafting cartilage from a patient’s ribs or using synthetic materials like porous polyethylene (PPE).

“The AuriNovo implant requires a less invasive surgical treatment than using rib cartilage for reconstruction. We also expect it to end in a more flexible ear than reconstruction with a PPE implant,” he added.

The brand new procedure involved scanning the patient’s opposite ear to create a blueprint, collecting a sample of her ear cartilage cells and growing them to a sufficient quantity.

These cells are then mixed with a collagen-based bio ink that’s 3D shaped into an outer ear and encased in a printed, biodegradable shell that’s eventually absorbed into the patient’s body, surgeons noted.

They said the implant would mature over time and develop the natural feel and look of a traditional human ear.

In the continuing early-phase clinical trial, conducted in sites at Los Angeles, California and San Antonio, Texas, the corporate expects to enroll 11 patients.

Researchers hope to gather data on the protection of microtia ear reconstruction using AuriNovo and assess preliminary efficacy data which can be measured by overall satisfaction scores from surgical outcomes and questionnaires.

James Iatridis, professor of Orthopedics on the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai within the US, said the procedure is “promising”.

“The 3D ear implant is then a proof of concept to guage biocompatibility, and shape matching and shape retention, in living people,” he told The Latest York Times.

He said such 3D printing technologies reaching human clinical trials for ear repair help pave the way in which for cartilage repair in orthopaedic tissues.

The corporate also hopes to develop implants for more severe types of microtia and in addition exhibit the potential for the technology to supply living tissue implants in other therapeutic areas.

“Our initial indications deal with cartilage within the reconstructive and orthopedic fields including treating complex nasal defects and spinal degeneration. We stay up for leveraging our platform to resolve other high-impact, unmet medical needs like lumpectomy reconstruction and eventually expand to organs,” added 3DBio co-founder and chief Daniel Cohen.

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