Source: University of Alberta
Summary: Researchers used a clinically approved collagen biomaterial as a scaffold to grow new cartilage it can harvest and shape for patients who need nasal reconstruction.
Nasal reconstruction is a relatively common surgical outcome resulting from skin cancer. In 2015, there were more than three million cases of skin cancer in North America alone. About one-third of cases occur on a patient’s nose, with treatment options often leading to loss of function and disfigurement. It’s a very traumatic event for the patient and comes with a high pathological cost. Often these patients will not interact socially because they are embarrassed by their appearance. So the ability to help reconstruct a patient’s nose is really important. Facial reconstructive surgeons could soon have a safer, more accessible form of cartilage for nasal reconstructions, which means fewer surgeries and less pain for patients, thanks to the researchers at the University of Alberta. The research team used a clinically approved collagen biomaterial as a scaffold to grow new cartilage it can harvest and shape for patients who need nasal reconstruction. The study findings were published in the journal Scientific Reports.
The procedure was tested with the assistance of 6 cartilage donors. The researchers harvested cartilage cells known as nasal chondrocytes from the donors and multiplied the cells in the lab. They then seeded the cells on a scaffold, growing new tissue in a bioreactor. The method takes about six weeks to generate enough new cartilage for a nasal reconstruction. The engineered cartilage is superior in many ways to cartilage conventionally harvested from the body at sites such as a patient’s ribs or ear. Engineered cartilage eliminates those deficiencies and could potentially supply unlimited quantities for surgeons. The research team says it can also be custom-made for the patient. The researchers have yet to test their high-quality engineered nasal cartilage in human patients. They hope that within the next 2 years they can begin clinical trials to prove the efficacy of the cartilage in the operating room.
Assoc. Prof. Khalid Ansari, “I think the applications are just tremendous”, “To have an unlimited biocompatible source of cartilage that is immediately available in the operating room the minute you put the patient to sleep it’s tremendous.”
More Information: Stephen H. J. Andrews et al, “Strategies to Mitigate Variability in Engineering Human Nasal Cartilage”, Scientific Reports (2017). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-06666-2