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3-D printed ear offers hope to children born with deformities

Bioengineers and physicians working at Cornell have created an artificial ear using a combination of 3-D printing and injection molds. According to the scientists, the bioprinted ear looks and acts like a natural ear giving hope to thousands of children born with a congenital deformity called microtia.

The researchers recently described how their 3-D printing method combined with injectable gels made from living cells were able to create ears that over a three-month period grew cartilage to replace the collagen used to mold them.

"This is such a win-win for both medicine and basic science, demonstrating what we can achieve when we work together," said co-lead author Lawrence Bonassar.


"A bioengineered ear replacement like this would also help individuals who have lost part or all of their external ear in an accident or from cancer," said co-lead author Doctor Jason Spector.

To make the new 3-D printed ears, the researchers start with a digitized 3-D image of a human subject ear. That image is then converted into a solid ear using a 3-D printer to assemble the mold. The researchers then inject a high-density gel into the mold, while collagen in that gel serves as a scaffolding allowing cartledge to grow.
 
According to Bonassar, the mold can be designed in roughly half a day, and it takes just 30 minutes to inject the gel. The new ear can be removed from the mold 15 minutes later and trimmed to shape. At that point, it takes another few days for the ear to culture before it can be implanted into the human subject.

Source: Science Daily



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you forgot the important bit
By GulWestfale on 2/21/2013 9:04:56 PM , Rating: 5
will umox feel the same with an artificial ear?




RE: you forgot the important bit
By Flunk on 2/21/2013 10:08:59 PM , Rating: 1
Can't see why not, you get the feeling in your ears from you skin, not the cartilage.


RE: you forgot the important bit
By TSS on 2/22/2013 2:05:48 AM , Rating: 1
I think the point was if you feel your ears with your fingers can you still feel the difference between cartilage and this implant? It's awesome we can make this and all, just wondering about the specifics.

In any case i find it funny how've had many books and movies about cyborgs, cloning and whatever would be possible in a distant future. But none of them imagined "Not to worry, step into this machine and we'll print you a new arm". Or humans reproducing like copy paper.

Sometimes life is stranger then fiction.


RE: you forgot the important bit
By MozeeToby on 2/22/2013 8:58:52 AM , Rating: 2
Charles Stross's Glasshouse has A-Gates, which are exactly what you talk about. If you are injured you step into the gate and the machine disassembles and reassembles you, recording brain state on the way down and restoring it, in a shiny new body, on the way back up. And they record anything ever put into them, letting you make copies of anything up to and including people. If you're killed, the system makes note of it and spits out the last saved copy, or at least is capable of doing so. The implications of this technology play a major role in the plot and backstory.


RE: you forgot the important bit
By tamalero on 2/22/2013 5:18:32 AM , Rating: 2
but how do you connect the nerves?


RE: you forgot the important bit
By maugrimtr on 2/22/2013 8:28:31 AM , Rating: 2
The replacement ear doesn't contain nerves. It's intended to restore the same functionality and appearance as a real ear. The functionality is important - ears have a common specific shape for a good reason. The appearance is secondary but also important. It's not easy to replace an ear with an artificial lookalike. The ear is on the side of your head and firmly anchored there with no protrusions. You'd have to break the skin cover or tie it around the head so this is a big deal.


RE: you forgot the important bit
By CZroe on 2/22/2013 8:00:39 AM , Rating: 2
Feel with skin without nerves? Shens!


RE: you forgot the important bit
By mars2k on 2/22/2013 11:00:05 AM , Rating: 3
The important bit? The important bit is now all that spam for penis enlargement can come true. WhooHoo!


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