Growing An Ear On A Forearm With Autologous Cartilage

Artificial ear

Photo Credit: U.S. Army

This story may seem unbelievable at first, but it is true. A 21-year-old Army soldier was in a car accident which caused her severe bodily harm. In addition to numerous wounds, her ear was severed. Army plastic surgeons did an amazing total ear reconstruction. They harvested cartilage from the soldier’s ribs. Then they carved a new ear from the cartilage, which was then placed under the skin of the forearm to allow the ear to grow. The ear was then transplanted to the soldier’s head. She had no loss of hearing, and after some time, is expected to look perfectly normal.

The cartilage from the soldier’s hips is called autologous, meaning it came from the same person. It may turn out more and more cures come from ourselves. I have written a number of stories here about pluripotent stem cells. We all have them, and they are capable of being repurposed into different kinds of cells. Stem cells have been used as the “ink” to 3-D print organ tissues and, eventually, complete organs. Some stem cell-based tissues have been implanted and others are used to test the efficacy of new drugs. For example, cardiac tissue has been created in the lab which acts like a heart in key aspects. It will be used to test new drugs. Better to test unproven drugs in a petri dish than in a human. Exciting times are ahead.

Humans are gradually looking more like Robots. Robots are gradually looking more like humans. The Singularity predicts in the not very distant future, we will not be able to tell the difference between biological and non-biological “beings”. I will be writing a chapter about this in Robot Attitude. I hope to make considerable progress on the new book in August. In the meantime, consider reading Health Attitude: Unraveling and Solving the Complexities of Healthcare for more about stem cells and regenerative medicine, and Election Attitude – How Internet Voting Leads to a Stronger Democracy to learn more about elections and voting in America. 

Source: Army surgeon transplants ear ‘grown’ on Soldier’s forearm | Article | The United States Army

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