Scientists at the Newcastle University have developed a “bio-ink” solution that can successfully 3D print human corneas.
The researchers at the Newcastle University used stem cells of a healthy donor cornea and mixed it with alginate, a gel derived from seaweed, and collagen to create a “bio-ink” solution that can be printed.
According to a paper published in Experimental Eye Research, the bio-ink solution was extruded into concentric circles using a 3D printer to create an artificial cornea.
“What we have shown is that it is feasible to print corneas using co-ordinates taken from a patient’s eye,” said Che Connon, Professor of Tissue Engineering at Newcastle University, who led the work.
He added that the research could help with the worldwide shortage of corneas for transplant. Even though more than 15 million people need donor corneas, just 44,000 transplants are done every year.
Demand clearly outweighs supply and that’s why 3D-printed corneas could prove to be a game-changer.
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