Researchers in Boston are in the final stages of testing a new technique to fabricate a fully functional human ear with a patient’s own cells. The team made a rat grow a human ear on its back by taking a CT scan of the person’s ear and then 3d printing a mirror image of it. The plastic print-out was then used as a mold to hold bio-material over a wire-mesh and was seeded with the patient’s own stem cells to ensure bio-compatibility.
The rat was used as a test-bed for fine-tuning the process which eventually will be done in incubators and will progress to engineering much more complex organs such as hearts, lungs and livers.
Using scans, computer modelling and 3D printing, the scientists say their research heralds a new era of regenerative medicine.
Original story by Ben Gruber for Reuters News: