The question often comes up of “how soon will we be able to grow ears?” The fact is, researchers have been “growing” ears for the past decade. One of the main reasons why most of us may not know about this is because the FDA has not yet approved tissue regeneration. Although researchers have proven to grow ears, there are still some concerns about the concept of tissue regeneration.
Some questions to be concerned about are:
1. How long will a regenerated tissue (ear) last?
2. How much does regeneration cost?
3. Will this be covered under insurance?
4. Does this interfere with religious beliefs and intervening with God?
5. Is this the beginning of a super race and what can go wrong with this in the years to come?
There is also a lot of debate with politics regarding tissue regeneration and who will support the idea while in office. One main issue is funding and finding financial resources as most dollars are directed toward more pressing projects such as finding a cure for cancer and diabetes. We also don’t quite have enough information yet. Remember, Dolly the sheep? Well, after everyone was excited about Dolly being cloned…she soon died. Sometimes, the cellular level of “some” regenerated tissue may change over time, developing cancer and deteriorate. However, this is not consistent. We are so close though…some military personnel who have returned from battle unfortunately being maimed from explosions, etc… have received new noses, fingers, and ears through tissue regeneration. Researchers are even regenerating organs such as hearts and lungs which is just simply amazing!
Overall, the idea of being able to grow an ear(s) for our children and adults who have Microtia would be so wonderful in the future. The ear tissue would be biological, coming directly from our children’s “ear” cells and it would be less invasive than some of the surgical procedures that currently exist today. The ear would also look just like the other ear in which the cells were taken from, so those with Microtia would have too identical looking ears. The ear would grow with your body and age with your body as well.
In the mean time, whether growing ears is another eight years away or another twenty, it is nice to know that someday we will be able to can grow ears along with so many other body parts and be given the chance to get on with our lives, be happy, and hold our heads high knowing that we have either been given another chance to live or to simply not be stared at or picked on because of missing an ear.
The below articles and videos can help educate you as to where research currently is regarding tissue regeneration, especially growing ears:
Stem Cell Research Focusing on Cartilage and Organ Regeneration
The below is a news clip that was aired on “60 Minutes” at the beginning of this year, 2010. Dr. Anthony J. Atala has grown many body parts and vessels through his research for years at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in Winston-Salem, NC. Below is the link to the news clip on Dr. Atala who has successfully grown an ear. Now, if only the FDA would approve of stem cells growing body parts…this would be the simplest method for our children to have an ear(s).
Human Cartilage Regeneration
“Testing the Process of Growing a New Ear,” found in the Monterey Herald, Feb. 17, 2011.
This article discusses new ear regeneration by Dr. William Landis, the G. Stafford Whitby Chair of Polymer Science at the University of Akron in Ohio. You may also find the archived version of this article at the following link: http://www.montereyherald.com/science/ci_17411698 The article about “Testing the Process of Growing a New Ear” can be accessed by the following link:
Regenerating Organs and Ears
Research at the UW Medical Center translates to improving care options for patients. This University of Washington program shows what is going on in Dr. Clifford Hume,s lab, where researchers are exploring a biological approach to hearing restoration by stimulating regeneration of hair cells in the inner ear. Current research is showing that there is a possibility to restore hearing loss by stimulating regeneration of hair cells.
Here is a link to an article discussing research in Toronto, Canada regarding stem cells and hearing restoration: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/02/10/stem-cells-and-hearing_n_1266812.html
Scientists growing ears, bone, skin to heal wounded troops
Here is another article on the different kinds of research that is being funded by tax dollars to help with tissue regeneration for ears.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/scientists-growing-ears-bone-skin-heal-wounded-troops-article-1.1155785#ixzz26B9DjDwI
Hopkins Doctors Grow New Ear On Woman’s Arm
Here is another article on growing an ear from rib cartilage and being implanted on a woman’s arm.
Regenear (Facial Cartilage Regeneration)
Below is an organization that is currently working on tissue regeneration, including working on the development of growing ear cartilage. In the future, individuals who have Microtia may be able to have their own ear cartilage and the actual shape of their other biological ear grown from stem cells instead of undergoing Rib Graft surgery or having an artificial or synthetic framework implanted for a new ear.
Mission: Regenear is a pioneer biomedical company born in 2010 with the clear mission to develop and commercialize the first biokits to regenerate tridimensional facial cartilage from patient’s own cells. Facial cartilage regeneration provides the best solution when facial grafts are need in:
- Patients who need reconstructive surgery due to birth defects or traumatic accidents and,
- Cosmetic surgeries where a cartilage graft is needed to augment or alter the shape of the patient’s ear, nose, or chin.
Regenear’s team and network is international, multidisciplinary and highly skilled. A good balance between world-renowned scientists specialized in biomedical engineering and regenerative medicine, and top oto-rhino and facial cosmetic surgeons.
European contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
American contact: email@example.com