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3D Printed Cornea

USA Today reports on a recent research project led by scientists at Florida A&M University.  Professor Mandip Sachdeva and his team have completed “the first high throughput printing of human cells in a 3D print of the cornea in the U.S.”

This breakthrough was part of a collaboration between two teams at the research laboratories in the Dyson Pharmacy Building at A&M.  Indeed, “this could lead to far-reaching advancements in the medical field, from transplants to testing of new cornea-relief products to cornea wound treatment.”

Sachdeva, “who has taught at A&M for 26 years and been awarded $25 million in research funding over those years, was focused on developing materials and devices for biological applications, such as 3D printed tumor bio systems on a chip.”

As Sachdeva explains: “I was also doing ocular research.  Essentially, the idea was ‘can we do something better than this?  Can we simulate the human eye, and put a cornea with cells in it?”

Sachdeva and his team have been working on this particular strand of research for about a year and a half now.  They were able to 3D print a cornea containing “the stromal keratocytes in a collagen matrix, which is the case in real cornea.”

While cornea transplants could be helped by this technology, they are not the only thing which could be aided by it.  Indeed, “other applications include developing an in-vitro diffusion model to ascertain the permeation of drugs and formulations for screening in research.  The team is also developing a blinking eye model, which will be a further improvement to the in vitro model.”  They have already managed to develop a prototype.

Sachdeva concludes: “this eye can move up and down like a human eye does.  We have simulated the human eye…we simulate the human system.  The cornea will have several of the cells lined up and you can study how much drug is going through and what’s happening in a much more efficient manner and minimize animal testing.”

Image and Quotes Courtesy of USA Today

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