Published By : 30 May 2018 | Published By : QYRESEARCH
Researchers at Newcastle University, UK have been able to successfully develop 3D-printed human corneas, marking the development of a technique that could ensure the unlimited supply of human corneas possible in the future. Human corneas, forming the outermost layer in the human eye, play a crucial function in focusing vision.
Owing to conditions such as trachoma, nearly 10 mn people across the globe present the need for cornea transplant every year, without which patients can also face corneal blindness. An estimated 5 mn people across the globe suffer from total blindness as a result of corneal scarring that may be caused due to lacerations, burns, diseases, or abrasions.
The study, which has also provided a proof of the concept, has been published in the journal Experimental Eye Research. The research shows that for 3D printing cornea, stem cells derived from a healthy donor cornea were mixed with collagen and alginate for creating printable solution or a bio-ink. The material was successfully extruded in the form of concentric circles with the help of a simple 3D bio-printer to form the shape of human cornea. The time required for printing human corneas using the technique was apparently only 10 minutes. The stem cells were later shown to grow.
Several researchers have tried to make this feat possible in the past but the ideal bio-ink was not found. In this case, however, researchers were able to form a unique combination that kept the stem cells alive while also producing a material stiff enough to hold its shape yet soft enough so it could be printed.