For the first time in the history of medicine, a 3D-printed ear has been transplanted with human cells

A woman born with a birth defect in one ear has become the first person in the world to receive a 3D implant made from her own human cells.

Biotech company 3DBio Therapeutics, based in Queens, New York (US) made the artificial ear that doctors later implanted, according to the New York Times.

The same media indicated that the woman was born with a pinna, a rare birth defect that causes the outer ear to become small and deformed, which may affect hearing.

Specialists stressed that the process, which is part of the first clinical trial of this technology, was an “exceptional advance” in tissue engineering, according to the ANSA news agency.

The new ear was implanted in March and shaped into the same shape that corresponds to that woman’s left organ. The company explained that it will now continue to regenerate the cartilage tissue to give the ear a natural look and feel.

“It’s definitely a big deal,” said Adam Feinberg, a professor of biomedical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, noting that “it shows that this technology is no longer an ‘if’, but a ‘time’.”

Meanwhile, the clinical trial, which will be performed on 11 patients, is still ongoing and the transplants may lead to unexpected health problems. But since the cells come from the same tissue as the patient, the company said it was “likely” that the new organ would not be rejected by the body.

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3D noses?

Biotech company 3DBio Therapeutics says the same technology can be used to replace other parts of the human body such as spinal discs, nose, knee meniscus, rotator cuffs and lumpectomy reconstructive tissue.

“It’s so exciting, sometimes I have to calm myself down a bit,” said Arturo Bonilla, the reconstructive surgeon who performed the transplant, and predicted, “If all goes according to plan, this outcome will revolutionize the world.”

Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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