Thursday, 19 December 2013

Eye Spy.

Having written about the wonders and marvels of the 3D printers, this next post really shows the  step up in terms of using printers for something other than printing out words and images.

It is hard, I believe to categorise this part of the body as equipment, but it plays an essential role for day-to-day living.

 A Cambridge University team has had a proof of principle piece of work published in the journal Biofabrication, which explains the preliminary trials of using printers to print new cells for the eyes to try and treat sight loss.

Being in the early stages of research, the team have shown that an inkjet printer (the type that most of us use at home, or in the office) can be used to print 2 types of eye cells: glial and ganglion cells. The experiment was carried out on adult mice, and once printed the cells were able to survive and grow in a growth medium. These cells are used in the body to transmit information from the eye to the brain, and helps to protect neurons. 

The team next plan to try and print rods and cones; which are light sensitive photoreceptors. This could be a really interesting field of research and possibly could help many get their sight back, or even help to retain what little sight they have left. 

Currently the experiment is still waiting for the go ahead in terms of human trials. But from what I have read it seems a promising start.

Explorer Fact: you actually see upside down but it is your brain which turns the image the "right" way round.

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