London, July 31 (ANI): Scientists have created an artificial human ear by combining living tissues extracted from cows and sheep.
The scientists allowed them to grow around a flexible wire frame, which retains the correct anatomical shape of the ear.
The researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston said that a key feature of the artificial organ is a cartilage scaffold which has an embedded titanium wire that retains the shape of the structure as well as maintain its flexibility, the Independent reported.
The authors said that the technology is under development for clinical trials, and thus the team has scaled-up and redesigned the prominent features of the scaffold to match the size of an adult human ear and to preserve the aesthetic appearance after implantation.
The scientists fashioned the collagen connective tissue from a cow into the shape of a human pinna - the fleshy visible part of the ear - and held it in place by titanium wire.
The collagen was then 'seeded' with ear cartilage cells that were taken from a sheep and the cells were then grown within the porous collagen fibres.
The scientists grew the ear on mice and rats, which lacked an immune system to show that it was possible for it to be connected to a blood supply without tissue rejection.
However, in a human transplant, the ear will have to be either made from patient's own stem cells or used with anti-rejection drugs.
The findings have been published in the Journal of the Royal Society. (ANI)