3D-printed replacement cornea a reality

A new company, Precise Bio, will be creating 3D-printed products for human eyes, including corneas.

With almost 10 million people suffering from corneal blindness, these artificially manufactured corneas would greatly reduce the supply limitations that go along with transplant waiting lists.

Bioprinters utilize layers of cells and biocompatible materials to print form tissue unlike traditional 3D printers which use heated filament applied in layers on a plate. The creation of the cornea actually involves a fourth dimension because of the curing stage needed for the printed cells.

With initial animal trials for the corneal transplant completed successfully, Precise Bio will soon be entering human trials but first must be able to show the normal behavior of the bio-printed corneas. In a normal eye, the corneal cells do not grow rapidly but in the bio-printing, they do so the company will need to show how this process will be controlled and stopped before transplant.

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