Allow me to try and simplify the title of an exciting, new scientific paper: “Adult rat retinal ganglion cells and glia can be printed by piezoelectric inkjet printing.”
We have now created eye cells with an inkjet printer!
Researchers from the University of Cambridge printed rat retinal ganglion cells, basically clumps of retina, using an inkjet printer. Be advised, this was not an inkjet printer like one you’d buy at Staples.
Instead, the scientists employed a sophisticated mechanism that uses a glass capillary that held suspended cells as if they were ink. Wild photos of the ink-like cells were captured using a high-speed camera.
The researchers concluded that the cells continued to grow even after printing, which means that they can be used to graft cells onto damage eyes.
In the future, the plan is to print other types of cells like photoreceptors and retinal pigment. Eventually, I’m sure we’ll see a fully functional eye.
People: pay attention to printing technology. We already know that 3D Printers can produce little toys and even baked goods. And with this new study, we can print functional cells that can be used to repair tissue damage.
Think about the prospects in healthcare. What will the world be like when doctors can quickly repair an eye with some kind of printer next to your hospital bed?
Photo Credit: IOP Science
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