Bioprinted Ear Successfully Transplanted into Patient

A huge day for bioprinting as doctors were able to transplant an ear bioprinted utilizing the patients own cells.

A team of doctors led by Dr. Arturo Bonilla in San Antonio have successfully transplanted the world first bioprinted construct. The patients chondrocytes were harvested and then sent to biotech company 3D Bio Therapeutics, who utilized the cells to bioprint an ear and culture it until it was ready to be transplanted by the medical team. This surgery is part of a clinical trial currently taking place to evaluate a bioprinted implant to remedy microtia, a condition where the external ear is small and not formed properly.

This represents a massive step forward in the world of bioprinting as it demonstrates the impact bioprinting can have – no longer a matter of if, but rather when will we see more advancements like this.

Microtia is a condition that occurs in one of every 2000-10000 babies. Current treatment methods for microtia involve a painstaking process to graft and shape a construct, either by taking cartilage from a patient’s rib or using other synthetic materials like PPE and then developing a construct. Conversely, with bioprinting, 3D scans are taken of the patient’s other ear to then develop a tool path for the bioprinter to follow, enabling a much more personalized and patient specific approach.

We wish the team at 3D Bio Therapeutics and all the doctors involved in this clinical trial good luck! We along with the rest of the bioprinting community are rooting for successful outcomes.

To learn more about the potential of bioprinting check out our customer spotlight on work that is being done in another realm of reconstructive surgery.