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Researchers Hope To Grow Human Ears From Fat Tissue

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the sound-of-adipose dept.

Medicine 35

Zothecula writes "Researchers at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital aim to grow a human ear via stem cells taken from a patient's fat tissue. Relatively little attention has been given to the reconstruction of damaged cartilage around the cranial area, however the new method is hoped to modernize this area of reconstructive surgery."

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35 comments

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So no more... (1)

Publiu5 (3542707) | about 5 months ago | (#46415593)

of those cute lab mice with ears growing out of their backs?

Re:So no more... (1)

quenda (644621) | about 5 months ago | (#46415703)

Like the mice, they are growing tissue in an ear-shaped mold/structure. Not nearly so impressive as the headline makes it sound.

Wait, I thought this was all solved (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46415633)

with 3D printing?

I have found my calling in life.... (1)

shocking (55189) | about 5 months ago | (#46415641)

Bringing hearing to millions!

What is wrong the interface? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46415647)

Every so often slashdot just looks terrible! It has this pasty gray text on gray background and it's just damn hard to read! What is going on around here?

Rimshot (4, Funny)

jo7hs2 (884069) | about 5 months ago | (#46415669)

I'm all ears.

Re:Rimshot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46416179)

Friends, Americans, countrymen, lend me your fat^w ears...
That would work very well here.

Re:Rimshot (1)

rizole (666389) | about 5 months ago | (#46417077)

Do do your self down, your ears are just big boned.

Re:Rimshot - What Happens in Fight Club... (1)

nomasteryoda (801608) | about 5 months ago | (#46418477)

Stays in Fight Club. Wait, what about the plan to make Soap with all that fat?

Oh great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46415685)

Oh great, like we don't already have enough fat coming out of our ears.

Why not go whole hog and make pancreatic cells? (4, Interesting)

anubi (640541) | about 5 months ago | (#46415699)

I have way too many friends who are diabetic and their insulin production is down.

I do not mean to take away from anything, but I would sure love to see research like this directed to problems that affect the lifestyles of a large number of people.

I know they are working on it, but personally, I would like to see them throw all they've got at these pesky insulin and maintenance drug problems where just a little chemical injection by a tailored cell assembly would do the trick. Forcing patients to be tethered to the pharmacist with little bottles of pills has got to go.

Re:Why not go whole hog and make pancreatic cells? (4, Insightful)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 5 months ago | (#46415751)

problem is that a condition that requires maintenance med is already considered "solved", and approximately $0 will be spent on finding a "one time" solution. the maintenance situation is the golden goose - people will pay for drugs every month for the rest of their lives!! mega benjamins!

Re:Why not go whole hog and make pancreatic cells? (1)

anubi (640541) | about 5 months ago | (#46416043)

people ( ObamaCare and the TaxPayer ) will pay for drugs every month for the rest of their lives!!

And keep that poor guy condemned to live out the rest of his life with a syringe in his arm...

Re:Why not go whole hog and make pancreatic cells? (1)

anubi (640541) | about 5 months ago | (#46416077)

Sorry... I replied in haste.

I have a real tender spot in me that gets quite worked up when I see the cold hard realities of economics butt up against what I consider pure human compassion.

Re:Why not go whole hog and make pancreatic cells? (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 5 months ago | (#46416261)

at the very least there's a driver for finding cures when there's profit to be had.

Re:Why not go whole hog and make pancreatic cells? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46416245)

Because the patient's immune system will just attack the grown cells the same as I'd did the original cells.

Re:Why not go whole hog and make pancreatic cells? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 5 months ago | (#46418471)

Well, that and the pancreas is a whole fucking lot more complicated than a bunch of skin and cartilage shaped like an ear. I'm all for cynicism about the pharmecutical industry, but the simpler explanation is that we just can't cure diabetes yet, not that anyone is conspiring to keep patients sick.

There are people who think that HIV was made by the government, there are people who think that cancer could have been cured if researchers cared more or weren't so focused on keeping people on expensive meds. As a biomedical researcher, I have to say: we're simply not smart enough to actually do these conspiracies. If we were more cunning, we would have gone into the finance industry.

Re:Why not go whole hog and make pancreatic cells? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 5 months ago | (#46419581)

You're just crazy, right? Literally billions of dollars are spent on diabetes research. Work on the artificial pancreas, an implantable long term glucose sensor, oral insulin and a host of other technologies has quite a bit of money behind it.

Stop with the whiny 'it's all money' handwringing. It's only mostly money. There is also hookers and blow.

Re:Why not go whole hog and make pancreatic cells? (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 5 months ago | (#46415823)

Um, research isn't oil, i.e. it's not exactly fungible. You can't take X amount of research in field Y and apply to field Z instead.

A lot of the barriers to better treatments for diseases aren't financial. For example, at any given time there are only a limited # of people willing and able to participate in clinical trials. Do your friends volunteer for these trials? Have you?(You don't have to actually suffer from the ailment to participate in phase I trials) There are also limitations to the # of researchers who can specialize in certain fields, as the resources to train them and bring them up to speed on the latest techniques, equipment etc. is limited. So yeah, not all research goes to areas you deem more important than others. Also, the tooth fairy isn't real.

Re:Why not go whole hog and make pancreatic cells? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46415849)

"Insulin production is down" is misleading. Most type 2 diabetes is based on insulin resistance: *Type 1* diabetes, though is mostly an auto-immune problem that destroys all beta cells, and that can benefit from transplants *if the auto-immune problem is addressed*. It has never been addressed properly, so none of the transplant procedures have worked out for Type 1.

In fact, according to Dr. Faustmann's work at MGH, if you address the auto-immune problem with correctly applied BCG vaccine and tight blood sugar control, it cures Type 1 diabetes. Insulin producing cells generate naturally, from adult stem cells, at least in the lab animals. They're starting the second round of human testing now. Look at http://www.faustmanlab.org/ for some links to the research.

It's also in indicator of the problem of "just slap more tissue in". Like so many fat people who get stomach surgery, or people who get rurgery for RSI, unless the *cause* of the problem is addressed, it will just recur, even with surgical intervention.

Re:Why not go whole hog and make pancreatic cells? (1)

compro01 (777531) | about 5 months ago | (#46415955)

Simply regrowing the pancreas won't fix things. Replacing the pancreas would just tether them to worse bottles of pills (immunosuppressives) to prevent them from getting trashed again by their immune system.

Unless we figure out some one-shot "stop attacking the pancreas" switch, they'll be on medication of some kind for their entire lives.

Re:Why not go whole hog and make pancreatic cells? (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 5 months ago | (#46415995)

Couple of things:
First of all, the money spent on this research is going to be a drop in the bucket compared to diabetics related research.
Second, we need to walk before we can run. Medicine is no where near the state where we can just implant an artificial pancreas into a patient. It's one thing to build a simple structure like ear shaped cartilage, but there are all sorts of issues building a multiple hormone and enzyme producing organ that has to interface with multiple body systems (endocrine, exocrine, digestive, circulatory, autonomic nervous system) to maintain balances of a variety of chemicals essential to digesting food. It's not just insulin and blood glucose, you know.
Third, I'm guessing that it's likely that your friends could get off of the injections if they ate healthier.

Re:Why not go whole hog and make pancreatic cells? (2)

Warbothong (905464) | about 5 months ago | (#46417353)

Ears are an easy target because their function mainly comes from their shape; you could make them out of wood and they'd still do a semi-decent job. The problems being tackled here are making the right shape (presumably with a scaffold), getting the host body to maintain it (ie. hooking up the blood supply) and preventing rejection (by using the host's own stem cells).

On the other hand, making tissue that reliably synthesises vital chemicals, in the right quantities, is much more difficult. Thankfully, solving the problems listed above will *also* be useful to growing pancreatic tissue.

Re:Why not go whole hog and make pancreatic cells? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 5 months ago | (#46421513)

You mean like the WHO saying people should consume no more than 10 percent of their calories in sugar - which is why people become diabetic in the first place? ...

Never happen. You want cures for things you're going to keep doing.

Re:Why not go whole hog and make pancreatic cells? (1)

vandelais (164490) | about 5 months ago | (#46432925)

Because Mike Tyson didn't take a bite out of Evander's pancreas.

Grow a REAL FLESHLIGHT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46415893)

and all the women will be climbing over each other like ants on a giant turd to get our attention again.

NOW it's YOUR TURN to WOO me and lick my cold shoulder.

Not that there's anything wrong with women.

Re:Grow a REAL FLESHLIGHT (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 5 months ago | (#46419617)

I think you're doing it wrong.

Pinnas not ears (2)

Orangebeard (1206886) | about 5 months ago | (#46415977)

It's not the whole ear they are trying to grow but rather the pinna. The ear is the entire organ which includes all the structures of the inner ear, middle ear and outer ear. The pinna is the visible part of the ear.

Cue head and fanny jokes in ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46416243)

3...2...1...

In other news.... (1)

XB-70 (812342) | about 5 months ago | (#46416483)

McDonald's prepares ears for grinding into Big Macs to make people fat...

Ahhhh, the circle of life!

Niki Lauda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46416649)

will be happy

Researchers at London's Great Ormond Street Hospit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46416971)

At last!

A new export market for American body fat!!

I knew we wuz stuffing ourselves for a reason.....

Sound (1)

coinreturn (617535) | about 5 months ago | (#46417857)

Can you hear me, you cow?

Great, but who wants fat ears? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46419667)

Great, but who wants fat ears? New era of Clark Gable-ism rising?

I never knew there was such a high (1)

mtthwbrnd (1608651) | about 5 months ago | (#46428093)

demand for human ears.

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