Published: Sat, June 02, 2018
Medical | By

Researchers create the first 3D printed human corneas

Researchers create the first 3D printed human corneas

The 3S-printed corneas will undergo further testing; it means it could be several years before they're used for transplants.

With the help of 3D bioprinting, researchers could "ensure an unlimited supply of corneas", states the university.

A group of researchers from Newcastle University under the leadership of Che Connon (Che Connon) learned using 3D printer to create an artificial cornea, partly consisting of these cells of the cornea - keratocytes.

With the help of relatively affordable 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. Located on the outermost section of the eye, the cornea serves as a protective wall to keep out dust, bacteria, and other tiny items. In addition, nearly 5 million people suffer from blindness due to scarring of the cornea, caused by burns, lacerations and the like.

"One, it needed to be able to keep a stem cell population alive", he told Digital Trends.

Professor John Snowden, director of blood and bone marrow transplantation at Sheffield's Royal Hallamshire Hospital, said: "We are thrilled with the results - they are a game changer for patients with drug resistant and disabling multiple sclerosis".

This bio-ink didn't just have to be thin but also had to be stiff enough that it could hold its shape as a 3D structure.

Researchers at the University of Newcastle in England report that they managed to replicate human corneas using a 3D printer and a "bio-ink" made of stem cells from a donor cornea, alginate (a substance found in algae) and the protein collagen.

However, this is the first time in which a shaped cornea was created. This 3D-printed case would be able to help users measure their blood pressure by using an accompanying app. In the future, a simple scan of a patient's eye will enable doctors to print a cornea that perfectly matches the size and shape of their eyeballs.

It took 10 minutes for the 3D printer to create the human corneas at Newcastle University's Institute of Genetic Medicine.

The research, which is still in its proof-of-concept stage, uses stem cells from the cornea mixed with organic compounds to create a "bio ink" that can be used for printing.

To determine what exactly to print, the team had to figure out the shape of a human cornea.

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