A British man who lost his nose to skin cancer is now growing a new one in his arm.
Scientists helping the unnamed 56-year-old businessman said that the man's new nose will look exactly like his original, slightly crooked nose. Experts at the University College London say that they hope the new, artificial nose will give the man feeling and sense of smell.
"His nose was a little bit bent to the left and we asked if he wanted it straight but he said no, he wanted it exactly the same," said Alex Seifalian,a UCL Professor who is behind the pioneering treatment, according to the Daily Mail.
The latest endeavor marks the first time a full nose has been grown from scratch and could in the future be used as therapy for patients like soldiers and victims in car accidents, the Daily Mail reported.
Doctors said that the first stage of creating a new mold was to make a glass mold of the man's nose. The glass mold was then sprayed with a synthetic honeycomb-like material to build a biological scaffold for stem cells to fasten themselves to.
Once the frame was built, the glass mold was removed and the scaffold was coated with millions of blank stem cells that, with the right nutrients and chemicals, could develop into the cartilage of the nose.
Meanwhile, researchers had inserted a small balloon beneath the surface of the man's arm and gradually inflated it to stretch the skin. This process is to make sure that the skin is loose enough to accommodate the new nose.
Two months ago, scientists replaced the balloon under the stretched skin with the scaffold after they determined that the framework was ready. Researcher said that the scaffold with the stem cells is now bulging from the man's arm where it is developing new networks of nerves, blood vessels and skin.
Researchers said the nose will be ready to be removed in sewn back in place on the man's face in three months.