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July 1, 2022
Science and Medical

Corneas Could Be the First Mainstream Application of Bioprinting

The startup Precise Bio says it can replace donated eyes with 3D-printed corneas

Here’s a futuristic problem that may not have occurred to you: If self-driving cars really catch on and the number of traffic fatalities plunges, so will the number of organs available for transplant. Currently, about 20 percent of donated organs come from people who die in car accidents. 

Luckily, there’s a futuristic solution: 3D-printed organs. This technology is far from ready for the clinic, as researchers are still trying to figure out how to print out complex tissue structures with blood vessels and nerves. But for one early indicator of progress in this field, look to the eye. 

Precise Bio, a North Carolina-based startup founded by several professors at the renowned Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, is working on bioprinting tissues for a variety of medical applications. The company just announced that its first products will be for the eye—starting with a human cornea suitable for transplantation. “We plan to put our printers in eye banks,” says Precise Bio CEO Aryeh Batt.

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