Printed ears for reconstructive ear surgery may soon be a reality, thanks to the work of 2016 Conjoint Grant Awardees, Associate Professor Payal Mukherjee and Professor Gordon Wallace.
Payal and Gordon have introduced ‘3D Alek’, a biofabrication 3D printer that uses specialised ‘bio-inks’ to aid regeneration of cartilage. The printer can be customised to best-fit each patient situation, and was developed with the University of Wollongong’s TRICEP engineers. Currently being trialled at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPA) to aid children with microtia, it’s hoped to become commercially-viable within 2-3 years.
“This project illustrates our ability…to turn fundamental research into a strategic application to create a new health solution,” says Gordon.
The technology behind 3D Alek – using patient stem cells (harvested from discarded cartilage) and other bio-inks for structure and to support cell growth – gives scope for further possibilities outside of otology.
External link: Link to Channel 10 segment