We are thrilled to formally launch our three-year £2.5 million plus programme of regenerative research at Swansea University. The programme is focussed on the development of 3D ‘bioprinted’ facial cartilage (e.g. ears and noses) using human cells and plant based materials for future treatment of people who are either born without body parts, or live with facial scarring as a result of burns, trauma or cancer. The programme will also examine the impact of facial scarring on mental health by analysing data from the world’s largest cohort of people living with this type of visible difference.
Patients living with loss of ears/noses have told researchers that existing plastic prostheses didn’t feel ‘part of them’ and would prefer that their own tissue is used for reconstruction. This programme will address this problem by creating a custom ‘cartilage’ scaffold which the patient’s own stem cells grow onto, to avoid the need to take cartilage from elsewhere in the body (which would otherwise lead to painful surgery and further scarring).