3D printed ear out of human cells: commentary by Tom Myers

From Tom Myers: I had to check this one out – how could they put living cells though a jet into a printed object?  That would have been a very significant development.  Upon further investigation (see the second link), it turns out they 3D-printed the matrix for the cartilage cells – which they added later – to build around.  It’s great that they are getting printed items – which obviously includes the essential gels and fibrous networks of connective tissue – as scaffolding, like the decelluarised heart pictured here.  This was done by shampooing the cells off a real heart, whereas this new ear is a printed matrix / cell interaction.  This is not different in kind from the femoral prostheses that include a metal mesh into which the bone grows, forming a very strong and resilient hold.  But this much more sophisticated application holds promise for those with facial injuries or deformities, like a cleft palate. If they can ‘grow’ cartilage, would it have application to rib cage injuries and deformities like pectus excavatom as well?

To read the original articles, click below:

Read The Guardian article

Read The New York Times article