SCI­EN­TIFIC FIRST

Life & Style Weekend - - STUFF -

The first hu­man corneas have been 3D-printed by sci­en­tists at New­cas­tle Univer­sity in the UK.

As the out­er­most layer of the hu­man eye, the cornea has an im­por­tant role in fo­cus­ing vi­sion. Yet there is a sig­nif­i­cant short­age of corneas avail­able to trans­plant, with 10 mil­lion peo­ple world­wide re­quir­ing surgery to pre­vent corneal blind­ness as a re­sult of dis­eases such as tra­choma, an infectious eye disorder.

Another five mil­lion peo­ple suf­fer to­tal blind­ness due to corneal scar­ring.

Sci­en­tists used stem cells from a healthy donor cornea mixed with al­gi­nate and col­la­gen to cre­ate a so­lu­tion that could be printed, a “bio-ink”. Us­ing a 3D bio-printer, it took less than 10 min­utes to print. The stem cells were shown to cul­ture – or grow.

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