A group of five children in China got new ears, grown on the basis of a detailed three-dimensional models of healthy organs and using their own healthy cells. This is the first such case in the world of medicine. On the work done by the specialists shared in the journal EBioMedicine.
Children aged 6 to 9 years had a congenital disease microtia, characterized by underdevelopment of the ear or its absence (anotia). In this case, the malformation was observed in children with only one hand, so the researchers were able to create vysokodekorativnye pictures of their healthy ears, which later helped to recreate them a couple. The success of a team of experts in tissue engineering and plastic surgeons have proved that the method applied by the researchers can give people suffering from microtia and other similar diseases is literally a new life.
“The results represent an amazing breakthrough in the practice of transplantation of the newly created cartilage of the ear tissue through the use of a new method and high-quality surgical procedure,” the scientists write in their published article.
First, the scientists collected cartilage cells, called chondrocytes, with a healthy undeformed ears, and then used the method of cell cultivation. With the help of computed tomography in healthy ears, the researchers created three-dimensional models, which were instilled healthy cells to grow and form a new body. The cells have replaced almost the whole artificial framework. At the final stage the researchers conducted a surgical operation and implanted a new ear. In some cases, required additional cosmetic surgery.
In fact, the technology for growing new organs has existed for several years, but this is the first time when she was so effective in the treatment of people. The first recreations of the ear implanted 30 months ago.
“Technology of production of cartilage tissue, which could act as a replacement of the affected microtia plots are one of the major challenges of tissue engineering for more than two decades,” — said in an interview with CNN Lawrence Bonusar, Professor of bioengineering at Cornell University in new York, did not participate in the study described today.
“This work clearly shows that new technologies of production of fabrics for reproduction of the cartilage of the ears will soon be included in standard medical practice. The quality of the new tissue produced is not inferior to the best performance on display of modern cosmetic surgery”.
Microtia occurs in one case per 8,000 to 10,000 births. In some countries, the figure comes to 17.4 per 10,000 cases. Usually before treatment, the survey is conducted, to ensure that the structures of the inner ear and hearing saved. In the case of preservation of hearing, the next step is to ensure that the patient has external auditory canal (if it is not visible from the outside) by means of computed tomography. Little patients the study is performed after preliminary sedation. The age at which an attempt is made to restore surgical by the outer ear depends on the selected operational methods. The Medpor technique is used with three years, Rib Cartilage Grafts (rib cartilage transplant) — with six. However, many surgeons recommend performing the surgery at a later age (8-10 years), when the ear closer to adults.
“The surgeons discussed the possibility of extraction of cartilage from the patient and processing it to separate the cellular components, which then can be used to create a new,” explains Tessa Headlock center at the Massachusetts eye and ear research, was not involved in the work being discussed.
“The fact that for the first time these procedures were conducted with five patients. The results were generally successful. It shows long-term surveillance after surgery for implantation of the new ear”.
However, scientists have noted some “peculiarities”. During 2.5 years of observation there was no degradation of the fabrics of artificial parts of the ear. But scientists want to be sure that they truly achieved success, and therefore will continue to monitor in the next 2.5 years. In addition, in two cases, the researchers observed some distortion in the growth of the ears. It also requires additional and careful monitoring.
And yet it should be recognized that a major step forward in the development of such therapies for individuals with microtia.
“We have successfully developed, created and restored the external fabric of the ears of a select group of patients. However, additional work is needed in order to translate this innovative technique into the mainstream of everyday medical practice,” commented the researchers.