Newcastle scientists designed first 3D printed human cornea. The novel discovery has been made after mixing stem cells obtained from cornea of a healthy donor with a seaweed-derived gel, known as alginate and collagen, which helps form a bio ink solution for printing.
With the help of relatively inexpensive 3D bio-printer, the bio-ink derived from collagen was expelled on the concentric circles in order to create the structure like human cornea, which needed no more than 10 minutes to print.
The first 3D printed corneas have been designed by researchers from the Newcastle University in United Kingdom that yet need to undergo further testing. This proof of concept study is released today in the journal – Experimental Eye Research.
New discovery could break the deficiency of eye donors’ availability and ultimately succor million number of blind people get their sight back, as the corneas are the outermost, transparent layer of the human eye that plays a crucial part in eyesight.
Scientists involved in designing the cornea have used the data gained from scanning an eye of a patient, with the help of which they could print the cornea rapidly, matching the shape and size of the original one. However, its dimensions were taken from the original cornea at the beginning.
Leading researcher of the study and tissue engineering professor, Che Connon from the Newcastle University said in a statement that, “Many teams across the world have been chasing the ideal bio-ink to make this process feasible. Our unique gel — a combination of alginate and collagen — keeps the stem cells alive whilst producing a material which is stiff enough to hold its shape but soft enough to be squeezed out the nozzle of a 3D printer