Eye cells are printed for first time in step toward replacement tissue


Neuroscientists have used an ink-jet printer to print cells from the eye, advancing the quest to grow replenishment tissue for damaged or diseased organs.

Researchers at England’s University of Cambridge extracted two types of cells from rat retinas and sent them through a printer nozzle to see if they survived.

The cells remained healthy after being printed, retaining their ability to survive and grow in culture, the researchers reported in the journal Biofabrication.

Three-dimensional printing is one of the new frontiers in engineering. Biotechnologists are also interested in printing, given the potential it offers for building artificial tissue in layers.

This is the first time that the technology has been used to successfully print mature cells from the central nervous system. The scientists said much work lies ahead before doctors can build retinal tissue for people with eye diseases.