AFP, published on Thursday, June 2, 2022 at 10:12 p.m.
A U.S. medical team said Thursday that for the first time it had grafted a human ear implant created from the patient’s cells and using a 3D printer, a procedure that should be able to help people with a rare birth defect.
This operation was performed as part of a clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of such an implant for people with microtia, whose outer ear has not developed properly.
AuriNovo, the name of the implant, was developed by the company 3DBio Therapeutics, and the operation was performed by Arturo Bonilla, founder of an institute specializing in the treatment of this malformation, in San Antonio, Texas.
“As a physician who has treated thousands of children with microtia across the country and around the world, I am excited about this technology and what it could mean for patients and their families,” the surgeon was quoted as saying. in a company statement.
The procedure is performed by creating a 3D fingerprint of the patient’s other fully developed ear and then collecting cartilage cells from his ear.
These are then cultured to obtain a sufficient amount and then mixed with a collagen hydrogel. It is this mixture that is used to print the implant.
The implant is surrounded by a printed, biodegradable shell to support it, which is absorbed by the patient’s body over time.
The grafted ear is supposed to develop over time to look and feel like a natural ear, including its elasticity.
The clinical trial should include a total of 11 patients in California and Texas.
Dr. Bonilla said he hopes the implant can one day replace existing treatments, which involve creating a prosthesis from a cartilage sample from a rib, or a substance called porous polyethylene.
The first solution is a cumbersome procedure, and the implant using porous polyethylene is less flexible than the one tested today, he explained.
The microtie affects about 1,500 babies in the United States each year, according to the company.
If they do not have other health problems, these children can live quite normally. But some may misunderstand the gaze of others on this malformation.
Factors that may increase the risk of microtia include maternal diabetes and a low-carb, folic-acid maternal diet.
In the future, 3DBio wants to develop implants for more severe forms of microtia.
3D-printed implants could also be used for other conditions involving cartilage, including nose blemishes or injuries, breast reconstructions, or a damaged meniscus in the knee.