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Patient Receives Revolutionary Transplant of 3D-Printed Ear

A woman is the recipient of the first successfully implanted outer ear developed by a 3D printer.
Patient Receives Revolutionary Transplant of 3D-Printed Ear

In a first for medicine, a surgeon has successfully implanted an outer ear developed and 3D-printed in a laboratory, reports NBC News. A 20-year-old woman who was born with the congenital disorder microtia and had one misshapen ear received the new appendage in March.

A surgically implanted, 3D-printed ear marks a medical advance (NBC News)

Excerpt from NBC News: Outside experts said it is the first time that 3D-printed tissue had been implanted into a human body. "It’s a big milestone," said Dr. Anthony Atala, the director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. "Ears have been implanted by hand. It’s now using a printer, which helps automate the process, which is important for the field." The milestone could open doors for investment and new excitement around 3D tissue printing, potentially paving the way for new therapies in regenerative medicine.
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According to The Verge, doctors successfully transplanted a 3D-printed ear made from human cells onto a woman born with a rare ear deformity, 3DBio Therapeutics, the regenerative medicine company behind the implant announced in a press release.

Woman receives 3D-printed ear made from her own cells (The Verge)

Excerpt from The Verge: The transplant was part of the first clinical trial of the technology, and its success marks a major step forward for tissue engineering. "If everything goes as planned, this will revolutionize the way this is done," said Arturo Bonilla, the ear reconstruction surgeon who led the team performing the procedure. Around 1,500 babies born in the United States each year have microtia, a condition where one or both ears are underdeveloped or missing entirely. 
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Sky News writes that Dr. Arturo Bonilla performed the woman's implant surgery by removing half of a gram of cartilage from her microtia ear remnant and then sending it to 3DBio Therapeutics in Long Island City, Queens, along with a 3D scan of her healthy ear.

Woman becomes first to get new 3D printed ear made from her own cells in 'revolutionary' transplant (Sky News)

Excerpt from Sky News: At the facility, Alexa's chondrocytes, which are cells responsible for cartilage formation, were isolated from the tissue sample and grown in a proprietary slurry of nutrients, turning them into billions of cells. These were inserted into a specialized 3D bio-printer with a syringe and turned into a small oblong shape that was a mirror replica of the patient's healthy ear. The whole printing process took less than 10 minutes.
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