Have you ever thought of what happens to people who lose body parts or organs that can’t be grown back? The people who have lost ears, or fingers, or even more vital parts of their bodies? If you haven’t, you probably did just now. As you all know, you cant grow back another ear if it is damaged or destroyed. The cartilage in your ear is very hard to replace and repair. A breakthrough in 1997, by Dr. Charles Vacanti, may have changed all of this.
The Vacanti mouse was a mouse that was genetically altered to have a abnormally strong immune system, and it was bred to be hairless. These two factors made it easier to attempt to grow organs on the back of the mouse to be used as donor organs. The biggest breakthrough of this experiment was when the mouse was able to sustain having an ear grown on its back. Of course this ear did not contain human cells and it mostly consisted of wire mesh under a layer of skin, but it was still a breakthrough. It proved that the mouse could fully support the new body part put onto its back. The new ear would not be able to function like a normal ear would, being that it cannot be used to hear, but it can be used for cosmetic purposes for burn victims or those who suffer in terrible accidents.
Although only an ear has been successfully grown on the mouse, more experimenting could possibly lead to many more breakthroughs. It could lead to new sources for organ donors if they can get the mouse to fully grow a vital organ on its back. Read more about this amazing, yet kinda gross story at these three websites: 1, 2, 3