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3DBio Therapeutics reconstructs human ear using bioprinted living tissue

The first-in-human clinical trial was conducted in partnership with the Microtia-Congenital Ear Deformity Institute

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3DBio Therapeutics, a clinical-stage regenerative medicine company, and the Microtia-Congenital Ear Deformity Institute have conducted a human ear reconstruction using the AuriNovo implant – an investigational, patient-matched, 3D bioprinted living tissue ear implant.

This groundbreaking reconstructive procedure, which is in the first-in-human Phase 1/2a clinical trial, is evaluating the safety and preliminary efficacy of AuriNovo for patients with microtia, a rare congenital deformity where one or both outer ears are absent or underdeveloped. Microtia affects approximately 1,500 babies born in the US, annually.

This transformational implant procedure was performed by a team led by Arturo Bonilla, M.D., a leading pediatric ear reconstructive surgeon specializing in microtia, and the founder and director of the Microtia-Congenital Ear Deformity Institute in San Antonio, Texas.

3DBio Therapeutics reconstructs human ear using bioprinted living tissue. In partnership with the Microtia-Congenital Ear Deformity Institute.

AuriNovo is a patient-specific, living tissue implant – created using 3D bioprinting technology – for surgical reconstruction of the outer ear in people born with microtia Grades 2 to 4. AuriNovo is designed to provide a treatment alternative to rib cartilage grafts and synthetic materials traditionally used to reconstruct the outer ear of microtia patients. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted AuriNovo Orphan Drug and Rare Pediatric Disease Designations.

Following the 3D scanning of the opposite ear to specifically match the patient’s ear geometry, AuriNovo incorporates the patient’s own auricular cartilage cells into a 3D bioprinted, living, full-sized ear construct designed to replace the patient’s microtia-affected ear.

3DBio Therapeutics reconstructs human ear using bioprinted living tissue. In partnership with the Microtia-Congenital Ear Deformity Institute. 3DBio Therapeutics has developed unique capabilities enabling the creation of living tissue implants for therapeutic applications. In addition to creating the first 3D bioprinted living tissue implant, 3DBio Therapeutics also created an entire suite of processes and engineering solutions required to support the technology platform. The platform is purpose-built to meet the FDA’s requirements for therapeutic manufacturing and includes: proprietary cell processes to rapidly expand cells in sufficient quantity; ColVivo therapeutic grade bio-ink to preserve key biological and rheological properties; GMPrint 3D bioprinter to enable a sterile workflow combined with exceptional quality and speed; and Overshell technology to add non-permanent structural support to biological implants.

“As a physician who has treated thousands of children with microtia from across the country and around the world, I am inspired by what this technology may mean for microtia patients and their families,” said Dr. Bonilla. “This study will allow us to investigate the safety and aesthetic properties of this new procedure for ear reconstruction using the patient’s own cartilage cells. My hope is that AuriNovo will one day become the standard of care replacing the current surgical methods for ear reconstruction requiring the harvesting of rib cartilage or the use of porous polyethylene (PPE) implants. The AuriNovo implant requires a less invasive surgical procedure than the use of rib cartilage for reconstruction. We also expect it to result in a more flexible ear than reconstruction with a PPE implant. The AuriNovo living tissue implant is designed to provide a better solution for patients born with microtia by transforming their appearance and building their confidence and self-esteem.”

3DBio Therapeutics reconstructs human ear using bioprinted living tissue. In partnership with the Microtia-Congenital Ear Deformity Institute.

Daniel Cohen, Ph.D., 3DBio Therapeutics Chief Executive Officer, and Co-founder, and his team have built a comprehensive, proprietary technology platform to deliver living tissue implants to patients. “This is a truly historic moment for patients with microtia, and more broadly, for the regenerative medicine field as we are beginning to demonstrate the real-world application of next-generation tissue engineering technology. It is the culmination of more than seven years of our company’s focused efforts to develop a uniquely differentiated technology platform meeting the FDA’s requirements for therapeutic manufacturing of reconstructive implants,” said Dr. Cohen. “We believe that the microtia clinical trial can provide us not only with robust evidence about the value of this innovative product and the positive impact it can have for microtia patients but also demonstrate the potential for the technology to provide living tissue implants in other therapeutic areas in the future.”

“Our initial indications focus on the cartilage in the reconstructive and orthopedic fields including treating complex nasal defects and spinal degeneration,” continued Dr. Cohen. “We look forward to leveraging our platform to solve other high impact, unmet, medical needs like lumpectomy reconstruction and eventually expand to organs.”

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Edward Wakefield

Edward is a freelance writer and additive manufacturing enthusiast looking to make AM more accessible and understandable.

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