The Universities of Italy and the Netherlands after many years of hard work and comprehensive researches have createdan artificial tympanic membrane from own human stem cells on a 3D carcass of polymeric filaments, according to the publication of the IOP Publishing Biofabrication.
The tympanic membrane is a thin, flexible and rigid membrane, consists of collagen fibers of complex structure and separates the outer ear from the middle, it transmits sound vibrations to the ear bones. The problem of the perforation of the tympanic membrane is relevant for otolaryngologists, the main ways of damaging the membrane are injuries and infections, in serious cases perforation can lead to hearing impairment. Attempts to restore the sound membrane were made back in the 17th century, and then the operation was performed by pulling the membrane of animal origin onto an ivory carcass. Today, there are numerous studies in this field of regenerative medicine with a view to maximally improve the acoustic characteristics of the artificial organ.
Scientists from four European universities have developed polymer structures that exactly correspond to the dimensions of the tympanic membrane by electrospinning, combined with two and three-dimensional printing. On the created carcasses, mesenchymal stem cells were cultured. As a result, a viable organ has been obtained in its structure, shape and biological and acoustic characteristics capable of replacing the tympanic membrane. The testing of engineering and cellular structures is now being carried out - they are implanted in laboratory animals. A successful research finale will provide the opportunity to completely restore the hearing of a person using its own stem cells.