Artificial human ear grown in lab
Researchers have used a tissue engineering technique to grow a human ear from animal tissue, according to a study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. The goal is to be able to grow artificial living ears to help people with malformed ears or those who have lost them in accidents or trauma.
To create the ear, scientists took living tissue from cows and sheep, and grew them on a titanium wire scaffold that is modeled on the dimensions of a human ear. This was then implanted into a rat with a suppressed immune system, which allowed the ear to grow.
The experiment was successful because the researchers were able to keep the shape of the ear after 12 weeks of growth in the rat, and they were able to keep the natural flexibility of the cartilage. Researchers hope to move to clinical trials in humans in the next five years.