An emerging startup from Jennifer Lewis' lab intends to commercialize a technology for tympanic membrane repair. This illustration shows an implanted tympanic membrane in the ear canal. Image credit: Shawna Snyder.
Researchers from Jennifer Lewis' lab at Harvard, in collaboration with Aaron Remenschneider and Elliott Kozin at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, have developed a novel device for repairing damaged eardrums. Customizable grafts with anisotropic material properties that match the native tympanic membrane (TM) are 3D-printed using a novel, biodegradable ink. The grafts encourage cellular alignment as native cells infiltrate the implant and remodel over time. This provides a clear improvement in healing time and acoustic outcomes over the autologous or porcine-derived grafts that are currently used that do not mimic the anisotropic architecture of the TM. An emerging startup, Beacon Bio, aims to commercialize the technology for tympanic membrane repair to improve patient outcomes and reduce procedure times.