Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have created a human ear out of flexible animal tissues and cells. According to the researchers the ear flexes much like a regular human and also has a very accurate shape, with the help of a small, internal wire frame.
To create the main base of the ear the researchers used collagen from cows coupled with a flexible titanium frame. The researchers say that frame will "maintain the gross dimensions of the engineered ear after implantation."
Lead author Dr. Thomas Cervantes of the Department of Surgery at MGH told the press:
"This is the first demonstration of a full-size human ear that maintains shape and flexibility after 3 months. These quantitative shape analysis results have identified opportunities to improve shape fidelity of engineered ear constructs," they conclude.
Cervantes also adds: "Shape and flexibility are key; tissue engineered constructs tend to distort in shape during growth, which is obviously a problem for the ear, because we are aiming to recreate a very specific shape."
by RTT Staff Writer
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