CAROLINA (REUTERS) - This synthetic ear could be a breakthrough in regenerative medicine.
It was produced using a 3D bioprinter at the Wake Forest School of Medicine.
The team used a process they've called the "Integrated Tissue and Organ Printing System."
Here, the 3D bioprinter produces a network of tiny channels that allow the printed tissue to be nourished after being implanted into a living animal.
The researchers produced three types of tissue - bone, cartilage, and muscle - and transplanted it into rats and mice.
They found it was still viable for weeks or months at a time after implantation.
As well as an ear, they also printed part of a human skull and jawbone.
Results with 3D-printed skeletal muscle were equally impressive, say the researchers.
The study was published this week in the journal Nature Biotechnology.