The researchers at the University of Cambridge, Britain, had a Major Breakthrough and taken it a step further by printing eye cells — making it the first time 3D printing technology is used to create mature central nervous system cells.
Experts at the University of Cambridge used inkjet printing technology to produce artificial tissue grafts made from a variety of cells found in the human retina.
Published in the journal IOP Science, the researchers printed two types of central nervous system cells using a piezoelectric inkjet printer; the Ganglion cells (which transmit information from the eye to the brain) and Glial cells(which provide protection and support for neurons), from the retina of adult 3D printer ejects cells through a sub-millimeter diameter nozzle when an electric pulse is applied, the printed cells were able to grow normally, remained healthy and retained their ability to survive and grow in culture.
Dr Wen-Kai Hsiao, one of the researchers involved in the study, explained: “In order for a fluid to print well from an inkjet print head, its properties, such as viscosity and surface tension, need to conform to a fairly narrow range of values. Adding cells to the fluid complicates its properties significantly.”The research team plans to extend this study to print other cells of the retina and light-sensitive photoreceptors.
Keith Martin and Barbara Lorber, co-authors of the study, said: “The loss of nerve cells in the retina is a feature of many blinding eye diseases. The retina is an exquisitely organised structure where the precise arrangement of cells in relation to one another is critical for effective visual function”.
Martin also said: “We plan to extend this study to print other cells of the retina and to investigate if light-sensitive photoreceptors can be successfully printed using inkjet technology. In addition, we would like to further develop our printing process to be suitable for commercial, multi-nozzle print heads.”
Although our results are preliminary and much more work is still required, the aim is to develop this technology for use in retinal repair in the future.”
Biomedical scientists’ ability to arrange cells into patterns and structures has been boosted through 3D printing and technology as it allows them to create cell-based structures that can be used in regenerative medicine.
This research has brought a ray of light in patients who are visually impaired due to some retinal pathology but much more work is still going on.