Bio-ink for Corneal Printing
If you have kept up with the printing industry, you are aware that there is a very wide variety of printing materials for 3-D printing. There’s cement to print a house. A real house. In less than 24 hours. In 2014 we reported that one could print a bike, designer shoes and a Les Paul replica guitar. There is work underway to print a human heart. And now bio ink for printing a cornea.
As you can imagine, the starting point to all of this 3-D printing is the “ink,” which is not traditional printers ink as you can imagine. House printing uses a cement solution in conjunction with huge, crane-like, devices. Heart printers use individual body fat and print several parts for assembly. Corneal printers use “healthy corneal stem cells with collagen and alginate.”
With 15 million people waiting for corneal transplant, this is good news. The print job is 10 minutes. The wait can be years. In fact, for now the wait will continue. The product is in the early experimental stage.