Chinese Children Get New Ears Grown Freshly In The Lab!
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could just grow a part of our body incase something happened to it? Well, Chinese scientists have managed to achieve something close in the field of regenerative medicine: they’ve given five children new, perfectly compatible ears (external), grown fresh in the lab.
The children, aged between 6 to 10 years suffered from a condition called microtia, where the external ear is shown to have defects. The only cosmetic treatments available were to attach synthetic ears, which can be rejected by the body or to sculpt a ear grown from rib cartilage, which does not appear normal.
How the researchers made the ear is very interesting. They created a replica of the normal ear with a 3D printer, and reversed the dimensions. This replica was used to create a mold which had tiny holes made of biodegradable material. The mold was filled with cartilaginous cells taken from the children’s deformed ears that were further grown in that lab. The part-ear, part-mold was then grafted onto the children. Some children required a 12-week-long procedure to allow their skin to grow and accommodate it.
The ears have stayed where they’re meant to be and so far the body has not rejected the material. Cartilage has now begun to grow over the new year, making it look more natural.
The scientists plan to monitor the patients for at least 5 years in order to make sure the ears stay in perfect condition even after the mold has broken down.
What if in the future we could just throw away damaged body parts, cancer cells or stressed nerves to grow new ones?
Source of banner image: gizmodo
Disclaimer: This article was originally published in gizmodo
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