A team of researchers at the Florida A&M University, led by Pharmaceutics professor Mandip Sachdeva, 3D printed a human cornea with bio-ink. The 3D printed cornea contains very similar materials to a real cornea.
The researchers realised that one application could reduce the need for animal testing for eye products such as gels and drops. The team is now working on creating a blinking eye model, which would be used for an in vitro model to help understand the permeation of drugs in other research.
Sachdeva explained, ‘We simulate the human system. The cornea will have several of the cells lined up and you can study how much of the drug is going through and what’s happening in a much more efficient manner and thereby minimise animal testing.’ The researchers hope that one day the 3D printed cornea could be transplanted. However, to get to this point requires a lot more research and testing.
The resulting bio-ink has ‘beneficial flow properties’ which Sachdeva believes will help future scientists to repeat their work. The researchers are now working on a journal paper to be submitted this month detailing the breakthrough.
FLORIDA A&M UNIVERSITY www.famu.edu