April 23 - US scientists have created an artificial ear using 3-D printing technology and living cells. The ear looks and behaves like a real ear and offers hope to children born with ear deformities. Sharon Reich has more.
It's an here in the making produced on the 3-D printer by researchers at Cornell University. It's designed to transform the lives of children born with microshaft. A condition at least the external ear structure either deformed or missing altogether. Created with living -- the artificial ear looks and behaves like the real thing yeah. Plastic surgeon -- factor of Weill Cornell medical center says the printed here is have obvious aesthetic benefits for children afflicted by my -- But they could also limit the need for the painful surgery required to help the child here are normally. It is currently a very extremely challenging the effect to reconstruct. Requires. Taking tissue from a young child using the surgery is done about the age of five or six. You sort of gold standard reconstruction is to use child's own tissue which means taking pieces of three of their -- What -- you can imagine this is quite painful in addition to the pain that the child will. Suffer as a result of an attempt to reconstruct the hear the actual reconstruction. That can be made. Really depends upon the artistic talents this surgeon. And truthfully this is such a complicated and and really challenging surgery that there's maybe a handful of surgeons in the whole world. Who can make an acceptable. Facsimile of the year. That's where doctor Larry announcer comes. But Nasser and his biomedical engineering team crying now have been working with Specter to develop a better -- replacement. And with the printed here they think they've done it. The researchers produced the nearby harvesting living cells and suspending them intelligent. A principle for a team in the body. After mixing the solution and dispensing it like ink into 3-D printer that air printing process can begin. -- -- To achieve the precise -- Technicians used to reading panoramic photographs and laser scans capturing the geometry of the -- other here. And then that the data into the computer that translated into real life like implant. The whole idea behind this is we simply don't wanna put artificial material. And in in the body. That we want to replace your cartilage that's absent or or has been destroyed with with new cartilage. And that's essentially what this tissue engineering technology goats and with time are implants start out his cell suspended in the -- And turn into cell suspended in tissue just like just like normal cartilage. Although the principal leader hasn't been tested in humans samples have been successfully implanted on the backs of laboratory that. The biggest technical challenge however is generating the number of cells needed for the process. Just one implant requires 250 million found. One of the nice things about this technology is that it really doesn't. Care where the cells come from we can mold or -- cells. Of any type whether there that whether they're your cells -- stem cells from from whatever source. And there's the possibility of accidentally made. We might be able to use just a few of your part of the cells and stem cells and happen to populations. So it's really unclear what will be the perfect population for the ultimate political news. But the technology that we've been developed. Will be able interface with whatever self technology. It's this in the future. Tissue engineering is still limited technology that this research team says it's only a matter of time. Before the printing of new body parts has become straightforward. Conventional medicine.