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31

May

2018

31

May

2018

Researchers Create Bioprinted Human Corneas

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The cornea is a good target for tissue engineering efforts in these early years of the field. It is small, easily accessible, comparatively simple in structure, and the processes for corneal transplantation are already well established. Many older people suffer from corneal damage or degeneration of one form or another, and these patients might benefit from the cost-effective availability of corneas generated from their own cells. Bioprinting is one approach to reducing the cost of building such patient-matched tissue sections, and as noted here, researchers have recently reported success in rapidly printing corneas in this way.

The first human corneas have been 3D printed. The technique could be used in the future to ensure an unlimited supply of corneas. At present 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. In the proof-of-concept research, stem cells (human corneal stromal cells) from a healthy donor cornea were mixed together with alginate and collagen to create a solution that could be printed, a ‘bio-ink’. Using

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