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3D bioprinting: the first successfully transplanted living cell ear

Using 3D bio-printing, scientists have created the first successfully transplanted living cell ear. This is an important step in the development of tissue culture and tissue engineering. Bioprinting is a special form of 3D printing that builds materials from living cells together with biomaterials layer by layer to create tissue constructs.

Rather than resorting to plastic prostheses or duplicating body parts from body tissue, 3D bio-printing enables the production of body parts that can have the same properties as natural tissue. In Germany, approximately 7,000 to 8,000 people are on the waiting list for a kidney transplant alone each year. People have to wait about 3 to 4 years or more for a donor organ, as many factors must be met, such as a match of tissue characteristics between the donor and the recipient.

There are currently 120,000 people waiting for an organ transplant in the United States, and the number is growing every year. This example shows the importance of further development of this technology to many people, which is why more and more universities and institutes around the world are researching it.

In order to implant the ear from the 3D bioprinter, the doctors worked with experts from the company to conduct a study 3D Biotherapeutics for Regenerative Medicine from the USA. It remains to be seen if the transplant will be a positive in the long term, but so far things are looking good. Then, similar transplants would be performed on 11 other study participants with a pinna deformity caused by the genetic condition pinna.

Since the body parts are made from the patient’s own cells, the body is less likely to reject them. The company is also working on producing other parts of the body such as intervertebral discs, nose, knee menisci, liver, kidneys and pancreas in the future. Arturo Bonilla, lead surgeon for ear reconstruction, told The New York Times that if all goes as planned, the operation will revolutionize the future of implants:

If all goes as planned, this will revolutionize the way this is done.