The scientists at Newcastle University, UK now discovered the first 3-D printed human cornea. This discovery is made to supply the corneas as per demands. The researchers notified that this technique can be used as a solution whenever the situation of the human cornea will arise. As cornea is the outmost layer of the human eye, it plays a vital role to focus the vision.
There are around 10 million people globally who are facing the situation of trachoma which is an infectious eye disorder. This discovery can help those people who now require the surgery to be safe from corneal blindness. There are around 5 million people who face the situation of total blindness due to corneal scarring. This corneal scarring get a place by burns, lacerations, abrasion or some other diseases.
The researchers get success in this by using a simple and low-cost 3-D bio-printer. The bio-ink which is used in the printer is successfully extruded in concentric circles to form the shape of the human cornea. This 3-D human cornea took less than 10 minutes to print. Che Connon who is the professor of Tissue Engineering at Newcastle University says,”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 3-D printer. This builds upon our previous work in which we kept cells alive for weeks at room temperature within a similar hydrogel. Now we have a ready to use bio-ink containing stem cells allowing users to start printing tissues without having to worry about growing the cells separately,” Connon added.
Professor Connon also tells,”Our 3-D printed corneas will now have to undergo further testing and it will be several years before we could be in the position where we are using them for transplants.