Inkjet-printed eye cells
Monday, January 13 2014 | 00 h 00 min | News
For the first time ever, British researchers have successfully printed cells from the eye using 3D printing. The researchers printed ganglion cells and glial cells.
The researchers showed that these printed cells remained healthy and could survive and grow in culture. This technological breakthrough could lead to the production of artificial tissue grafts made from the variety of cells found in the human retina and could help in the development of treatments to cure certain forms of blindness.
In their study, the researchers used a piezoelectric inkjet printer that ejected the cells through a sub-millimetre diameter nozzle when a specific electrical pulse was applied. “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,” stated a member of the team, Dr. Wen-Kai Hsiao.
The team now plans to pursue the study by printing other cell types and will investigate whether light-sensitive photoreceptors can be successfully printed using inkjet technology.