Scientists have grown a perfectly compatible ear in a lab and grafted it onto a patient, in what they said was a world first in regenerative medicine. The groundbreaking technique saw them use the patient’s own ear cartilage cells to form a new one. Five children suffering from a condition known as microtia, in which the external ear is underdeveloped, have undergone the experimental surgery.
The first child to have the procedure two-and-a-half years ago was showing no signs the body has rejected or accidentally absorbed the new cells, the Chinese team who developed the procedure wrote when they published their findings in the journal EBioMedicine. Currently the widely used treatments for microtia include the use of silicone prosthetic ears, or rib-cartilage reconstruction, which has mixed results. READ MORE