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September 6, 2012
Steven Senne photo

ADVANCE FOR USE MONDAY, SEPT. 10, 2012 AND THEREAFTER - In this Monday, July 2, 2012 photo Cathryn Sundback, director of the tissue engineering lab at Massachusetts General Hospital, holds a laboratory rat implanted with a human-scaled ear made from sheep cells at the lab in Boston. The same lab also has created ears from human cells and hopes to start implanting them in patients in about a year. With ears destined for patients - they would just be grown in a lab dish until they’re ready to implant.

Steven Senne photo

ADVANCE FOR USE MONDAY, SEPT. 10, 2012 AND THEREAFTER - In this Monday, July 2, 2012 photo Tom Cervantes, of Boston, a research engineer at the Laboratory for Tissue Engineering and Organ Fabrication at Massachusetts General Hospital, displays a titanium frame designed for the reconstruction of a human ear, left, and a three dimensional plastic ear model, right, at the lab, in Boston. Scientists are growing ears, bone and skin in the lab, and doctors are planning more face transplants and other extreme plastic surgeries. Around the country, the most advanced medical tools that exist are now being deployed to help America’s newest veterans and wounded troops.

Steven Senne photo

ADVANCE FOR USE MONDAY, SEPT. 10, 2012 AND THEREAFTER - In this Monday, July 2, 2012 photo Cathryn Sundback, director of the tissue engineering lab at Massachusetts General Hospital, holds a laboratory rat implanted with a human-scaled ear made from sheep cells at the lab in Boston. The same lab also has created ears from human cells and hopes to start implanting them in patients in about a year. With ears destined for patients - they would just be grown in a lab dish until they’re ready to implant.

Keith Srakocic photo

ADVANCE FOR USE MONDAY, SEPT. 10, 2012 AND THEREAFTER - In this Monday, Aug. 20, 2012 photo, Marine Sgt. Ron Strang, right, walks with his girlfriend, Monica Michna, in the yard by his home in Jefferson Hills, Pa., just south of Pittsburgh. In 2008, the federal government created AFIRM, the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine, a network of top hospitals and universities around the country, and gave $300 million in grants to spur new treatments using cell science and advanced plastic surgery. Strang is among those benefiting. The 28-year-old former Marine sergeant from Pittsburgh lost half of his left thigh muscle to shrapnel, leaving too little to stabilize his gait. “My knee would buckle and I’d fall over,” he said. Now, after an experimental cell treatment at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, “I’m able to run a little bit” and play a light football game with friends, he said. “It’s been a huge improvement.”

Ron Strang photo

ADVANCE FOR USE MONDAY, SEPT. 10, 2012 AND THEREAFTER - In this April 4, 2010 photo provided by Marine Sgt. Ron Strang, Strang lies on the ground after being hit by shrapnel in a bomb blast in Marja, Afghanistan. He lost half of his left thigh muscle and has had it strengthened with an experimental implant of connective tissue developed from pigs. “It’s been a huge improvement,” he says. He is taking part in a study at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Associated Press photo

ADVANCE FOR USE MONDAY, SEPT. 10, 2012 AND THEREAFTER - In this July 9, 2012 image made from video, Marine Sgt. Ron Strang shows his injured leg at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh, Pa. He lost half of his thigh muscle from shrapnel in a bomb blast in Afghanistan, and with an experimental implant of connective tissue developed from pigs, it has had it strengthened. “It’s been a huge improvement,” he says.

Keith Srakocic photo

ADVANCE FOR USE MONDAY, SEPT. 10, 2012 AND THEREAFTER - In this Monday, Aug. 20, 2012 photo, Marine Sgt. Ron Strang flexes the leg that was injured in a bomb blast in Afghanistan as he walks down a hill to a small park near his home in Jefferson Hills, Pa., just south of Pittsburgh. He lost half of his thigh muscle and has had it strengthened with an experimental implant of connective tissue developed from pigs. “It’s been a huge improvement,” he says. He is taking part in a study at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Keith Srakocic photo

ADVANCE FOR USE MONDAY, SEPT. 10, 2012 AND THEREAFTER - In this Monday, Aug. 20, 2012 photo, Marine Sgt. Ron Strang holds his Purple Heart medal in the living room of his home in Jefferson Hills, Pa., just south of Pittsburgh. In 2008, the federal government created AFIRM, the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine, a network of top hospitals and universities around the country, and gave $300 million in grants to spur new treatments using cell science and advanced plastic surgery. Strang is among those benefitting. The 28-year-old former Marine sergeant from Pittsburgh lost half of a thigh muscle to shrapnel, leaving too little to stabilize his gait. “My knee would buckle and I’d fall over,” he said. Now, after an experimental cell treatment at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, “I’m able to run a little bit” and play a light football game with friends, he said. “It’s been a huge improvement.”

Laboratory For Tissue Engineering And Organ Fabrication At Massa photo

ADVANCE FOR USE MONDAY, SEPT. 10, 2012 AND THEREAFTER - In this July 2, 2012 copy photo a chart provided by the Laboratory for Tissue Engineering and Organ Fabrication at Massachusetts General Hospital, depicts the progression, from left to right, of implanted tissue engineered for ear development and construction, at the lab in Boston. Scientists are growing ears, bone and skin in the lab, and doctors are planning more face transplants and other extreme plastic surgeries. Around the country, the most advanced medical tools that exist are now being deployed to help America’s newest veterans and wounded troops.