(Photo: University of Tokyo and Kyoto University)
People may lose their ears in accidents or are born with disfigured ears. For these unfortunates, there’s a new hope: artificially-grown ears. Scientists at the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University took human cells and grew them in an ear-like shape with a mold. This ear form was then implanted on the back of a living rat and left to grow, nourished by the rat’s body, for 2 months. The result is a living human ear measuring about 2 inches long. Discovery reports on the development of tissue engineering:
So-called tissue engineering is being explored to grow other kinds of body parts, too, including noses and windpipes.
The Japanese researchers say because their ear is a living part, it would develop as a child grew.
They hope to start clinical trials in about five years.
-via Dave Barry