Woman Receives First-Ever 3D-Printed Ear Transplant Made From Human Cells

A 20-year-old woman from Mexico who was born with a rare birth defect successfully underwent surgery to transplant a 3D-printed ear made from human cells. The state-of-art technology was developed by 3DBio Therapeutics.

The woman suffers from microtia, a condition in which the outer ear does not form properly.

Doctors took a cartilage sample from her misshapen ear and then sent it to a lab along with a 3D scan of her healthy ear. Within ten minutes, the doctors were able to 3D print a mirror image of her ear that was ready to be transplanted onto her head.

The surgery was performed by a team of surgeons led by Dr. Arturo Bonilla.

“This study will allow us to investigate the safety and aesthetic properties of this new procedure for ear reconstruction using the patient’s own cartilage cells. My hope is that AuriNovo™ will one day become the standard-of-care replacing the current surgical methods for ear reconstruction requiring the harvesting of rib cartilage or the use of porous polyethylene (PPE) implants,” Dr. Bonilla said in a press release.

The company said that clinical trials for the transplant are ongoing and that 11 other patients are signed up to participate. They hope that the technology can be used in the future to 3D print other, more complex organs.

“Our initial indications focus on cartilage in the reconstructive and orthopedic fields, including treating complex nasal defects and spinal degeneration,” Dr. Daniel Cohen, 3DBio CEO and co-founder said. “We look forward to leveraging our platform to solve other high impact, unmet medical needs like lumpectomy reconstruction and eventually expand to organs.”

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