Body parts using nanocellulose and the body's own cells are nearing applied phases by researchers from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg.

The first attempt ever made, starting with an ear, uses a technique that entails constructing a 3D nanocellulose network that duplicates the patient's healthy outer ear, and then making a mirror image. The patient's own cartilage and stem cells can be cultivated directly inside the body or on the patient, in this case on the head.


"We are extremely proud because this indicates that we are at the forefront in European nanomedicine. But above all it is exciting that we have now taken further steps with new applications for nanocellulose," states Prof. Paul Gatenholm, head of the research that is funded by EuroNanoMed, the Swedish Research Council and Vinnova. Previously, his team succeeded in developing artificial blood vessels using nanocellulose at Sahlgrenska University Hospital.

However, he concedes, "As yet, we do not know if it will work." He explains that the project that incorporates expertise in image analysis, prototype manufacturing, biomechanics, biopolymers and cell biology. "If we succeed it will open up a whole range of new and exciting areas of use," he foresees.