2nd November 2015

Scientists test laboratory grown cartilage for nose reconstructions

Scientists test laboratory grown cartilage for nose reconstructions

As reported in The Lancet medical journal, scientists from the University of Basel, Switzerland, have reported a successful nose reconstruction procedure by using laboratory grown cartilage. This was the first procedure of its kind.

To perform this surgery, researchers extracted cartilage cells from the patient’s nasal septum. These were multiplied and expanded onto a collagen membrane. The resulting cartilage was shaped according to the defect and implanted.

The nose is one of the most common places for skin cancer, because of its exposure to sunlight. In current surgery, surgeons may have to cut away cartilage from the nasal septum, ear or rib to use as grafts to reconstruct and rebuild the area where the tumor has been removed from. But this procedure can be painful if ear or rib is used and associated with complications not just in the reconstructed area but also in the area the graft was taken from.

The new procedure was applied on five patients, aged between 76 and 88 years old, who had defects on their skin because of skin cancer. All five patients were satisfied with their ability to breath and their appearance one year after surgery. None of the patients developed any side effects.

Ivan Martin, the Professor for Tissue Engineering at the Department of Biomedicine at the University and University Hospital of Basel, said: “ The engineered cartilage had clinical results comparable to the current standard surgery. This new technique could help the body to accept the new tissue better and to improve the stability and functionality of the nostril. Our success is based on the long-standing, effective integration in Basel between our experimental group at the Department of Biomedicine and the surgical disciplines at the University Hospital. The method opens the way to using engineered cartilage for more challenging reconstructions in facial surgery such as the complete nose, eyelid or ear.”

In summary, patients experienced nearly the same result as the standard surgery with a much less painful experience and no complications and side effects so far. There is not enough research so far to know the long-term risks of laboratory grown cartilage. (Source)