Creating viable eye tissue using 3D bioprinting is a starting point for research to improve vision on blinding diseases

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Research team from the U.S.National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health, used patient stem cells and 3D bioprinting to produce eye tissue that will advance understanding of the mechanisms of blinding diseases. Kapil Bharti, Ph.D., who heads the NEI Section on Ocular and Stem Cell Translational Research combined three immature choroidal cell types in a hydrogel: pericytes and endothelial cells, which are key components of capillaries, and fibroblasts, which give tissues structure. The printed tissue reached full maturity on day 42. The printed tissue looked and behaved similarly to native outer blood-retina barrier.

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“Our collaborative efforts have resulted in very relevant retina tissue models of degenerative eye diseases,” Co-author Marc Ferrer, Ph.D., director of the 3D Tissue Bioprinting Laboratory at NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences declared. The technique provides a theoretically unlimited supply of patient-derived tissue to study degenerative retinal diseases such as age-related macular degeneration .Therapeutics development are possible. NEI supports basic and clinical science programs to develop sight-saving treatments and to broaden opportunities for people with vision impairment.