3D-Printed Body Parts May Be The Next Frontier Of Modern Medicine

A surgically implanted, 3D-printed ear marks a medical advance – NBC News

A 20-year-old woman who was born with a small and misshapen right ear received a 3-D printed ear implant made from her own cells. The new ear will continue to regenerate cartilage tissue, giving it the look and feel of a natural ear.

The patient’s ear implant was made from a tiny glob of cells harvested from her misshapen ear. It could be used to make many other body parts, including spinal discs, noses, knee menisci, rotator cuffs and reconstructive tissue for lumpectomies.

A 3-D printer creates a solid, three-dimensional object from a digital model by depositing material in thin layers. It uses a collagen-based “bio ink” that keeps the materials sterile.

Outside experts said it was the first time that 3D-printed tissue had been implanted into a human body. The success could open doors for investment and new excitement around 3D tissue printing.

The surgeon removed half of a gram of cartilage from the woman’s microtia ear remnant, shipped it to the 3DBio building in Long Island City, Queens, and mixed it with collagen-based bio-ink to create a small oblong shape. The ear was implanted under the patient’s skin.

3DBio has announced the results of a clinical trial to further develop the 3D-printing process. The trial has included 11 volunteers ages 6 to 25 to evaluate long-term safety and aesthetic outcomes.

The company has not publicly disclosed the technical details of the process, making it more difficult for outside experts to evaluate.

For more information on this revolutionary step in medicine, consider the following articles:

  1. A surgically implanted, 3D-printed ear marks a medical advance  NBC News
  2. Woman receives 3D-printed ear made of human cells  CBS New York
  3. Doctors Transplant Ear of Human Cells, Made by 3-D Printer  The New York Times
  4. 3DBio Therapeutics and the Microtia-Congenital Ear Deformity Institute Conduct Human Ear …  BusinessWire
  5. 3D-bioprinted ear implanted in first microtia clinical trial patient  FierceBiotech
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