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Main » Scientists print first 3D Human Corneas 30 May 2018

Scientists print first 3D Human Corneas 30 May 2018

02 June 2018

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".

As documented in the journal Experimental Eye Research, the team used a low-priced 3D printer to craft these artificial corneas. According to the World Health Organisation, corneal blindness is the fourth leading cause of blindness globally, so it's pretty worrying to note there's now a transplant shortage in the UK. However, successful translation of these therapies into the clinic has not yet been accomplished.

The Newcastle scientists created a "bio-ink" made of the substances alginate and collagen. From this test, they were able to identify a process that allowed cells to grow within a bioink solution.

We talk with John Kawola, president of Ultimaker North America, about the world of 3D printing, Ultimaker's strategy, and how 3D printing will change over the next two decades.

Newcastle University researchers Steve Swioklo and Che Connon with a dyed cornea. Che Connon as cornea is 3D printed.

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The special bio-ink mixes alginate and collagen proteins and has been developed to hit a very specific set of criteria: being stiff enough to hold its shape, and being soft enough to fit through the nozzle of a 3D printer.

"This builds on our previous work in which we kept the cells alive for several weeks at room temperature within the same hydrogel". Because Connon's 3D-printed corneas utilize stem cells, corneal replicas could potentially provide a limitless supply of much-needed transplants. So, the team used a special camera to capture a volunteer's eyeball and create a 3D model of his cornea. It turned out that the day cells have spread on the samples and 92 percent of them survived.

As reported by N+1, the cornea was created based on a scan of the patient's cornea, and in the future this method can be used to treat those in need of cornea transplant. By first scanning a patient's eye, the team says it will be possible to bio-print corneas that are uniquely designed for each individual, though it will be some years before the technology graduates from the lab.

Other researchers have managed to print cartilage in 3D, a very promising method because this tissue cannot regenerate.

Scientists print first 3D Human Corneas 30 May 2018