British researchers used the first three-dimensional prints of human stem cells, collagen, and alginate to print out the cornea.
Researchers at Newcastle University in the UK used collagen and alginic acid to create a powerful gel that was used as a "bio-ink" for printing. This material is strong enough to hold the shape, yet flexible enough to withstand the backlog of 3D printer nozzles, and human stem cells can survive. Researchers at Newcastle University injected the bio-ink into a cheap 3D bioprinter and printed a cornea in just 10 minutes, roughly the size of the human cornea. The stem cells used for printing not only survived but also continued to grow after printing.
The researchers said that this type of 3D-printed cornea is currently not yet available for transplantation, but it is expected to solve the problem of corn donation shortage worldwide. Many research teams around the world are trying to print the cornea in 3D. One of the study participants, Dr. Xie Kangon of Newcastle University, believes that the success of his team's research is mainly due to the success of bio-ink. With 3D printing, it is no longer necessary to spend efforts to maintain the survival of stem cells.