They have focused on replacement structures that are made out of cartilage such as the nose, joints, trachea and spine since cartilage does not need to be nourished with a blood supply like other parts of the body.
They expect that ear transplants could become a reality in as little as three years after clinical trials can be completed. These clinical trials will be performed on animals first, and then on humans.
The researchers feel that ear transplants in children would have the best likelihood of success if done when a child is five or six years old. At that age, the ear is 80 percent the size of an adult ear.
Spector added that using human cells from the patient receiving the transplant would help reduce rejection.
The study was published online Feb. 20, 2013 in PLOS ONE.
Researchers grow human-like ears using 3-D printer and cartilage cells. Med City News. Web March 3, 2013.
Using 3-D printing and injectable molds, bioengineered ears look and act like the real thing. ScienceDaily, 20 Feb. 2013. Web. 3 Mar. 2013.
Cornell University. Bioengineers print ears that look and act like the real thing. Chronical Online. 20 Feb. 2013. Web. 3 Mar. 2013.
Michele is an R.N. freelance writer with a special interest in woman’s healthcare and quality of care issues. Other articles by Michele are at www.helium.com/users/487540/show_articles
Edited by Jody Smith