3D Printing a Human Ear

What would it be like to not have ears?

Unfortunately, for patients with microtia, this is no hypothetical. Microtia, or lack of a fully developed ear, is a congenital condition affecting about 1 in every 6-8,000 people.

Spectrum of microtia severity

Some patients have a malformed outer ear. Others have almost no ear tissue at all.

The only treatment is taking cartilage from the rib and fashioning a new ear. This requires multiple painful surgeries and tends to produce an unsatisfying outcome.

But now, an incredible NYC startup called 3D Bio can use the patient’s own ear tissue to 3D print a new ear! The patient’s sample is expanded in a cell culture and printed.

The ear can be attached in a simple outpatient procedure.

This treatment is now in early clinical trials. If it works, it could change medicine forever.

What if we could print new hearts, lungs, or livers? Imagine making a new, functional eye for a blind person.

Such technology could alleviate enormous suffering and greatly expand human life expectancy. And I’m extremely excited about it.

Best of luck to the incredible team at 3D Bio!

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