Scientists have used 3D printing technology for the first time to print out the cornea of a human eye. This means that human beings will be able to obtain unlimited supply of cornea in the future.
British scientists have created a special “biological ink” based on donor stem cells, alginate and collagen, and used 3D printing to print human corneas for the first time, according to the US Daily Science website. This means that human beings will be able to obtain unlimited supply of cornea in the future. Of course, it may take some time for the cornea to be transplanted.
A team led by Che Kangen, a professor of tissue engineering at Newcastle University, reported in a recent issue of the journal Experimental Eye Research. They mixed corneal stem cells (corneal stromal cells) donated by healthy people with alginate and collagen to create a “biological ink” that could be used for 3D printing, and then used a cheap 3D printer. The bioink was successfully extruded into concentric circles to form the shape of the human cornea, which took less than 10 minutes to print. Moreover, studies have shown that stem cells can continue to develop.
“A lot of teams around the world are working on developing the ideal bio-ink and trying to make it work,” says Mr Che. Our secret weapon is a gel of alginate and collagen that keeps stem cells alive while producing materials that are hard enough to retain their shape and soft enough to be extruded from the nozzle of a 3D printer. ”
Researchers have also shown that they can quickly print out corneas of the right size and shape by scanning patients’ eyes for data.
Of course, Che also pointed out: “this kind of 3D printed cornea needs to be tested further, and it may take several years before it can be used for actual transplantation.” But we have shown that it is possible to print the cornea using materials obtained from the human eye, and this method has the potential to solve the problem of global corneal shortage. ”
As the outermost tissue of the human eye, the cornea’s main function is to focus the line of sight-if the eye is compared to a camera, the cornea is the lens of the camera. Currently, there is an acute shortage of corneas available for transplantation, with about 10 million people worldwide requiring surgery to prevent corneal blindness due to diseases such as trachoma; in addition, corneal dysfunction due to burns, accidents or diseases. Leaving about 5 million people completely blind.