Scientists are confident that the new approach will allow to grow other tissues. This will solve the problem of lack of donor organs and permanently change the surgery.
Ophthalmological surgeons face an acute shortage of donor corneas. In recent years, it has only intensified, since the cornea of those who have undergone surgery for laser vision correction cannot be used for transplantation. An alternative may be artificial cornea grown from patient stem cells.
Researchers from the University of Newcastle UK are working on its creation. The scientists formed a matrix in the form of a cornea from stem cells and a collagen gel, and then processed it with serum, which contained amphiphilic peptide molecules. As a result, different cells showed different activity and gradually formed from a flat structure a three-dimensional object of the desired shape. Such structures are called “four-dimensional”, since, in addition to the three dimensions, time plays an important role in their creation.
The analysis confirmed that the structure and properties of the synthetic cornea reproduce the characteristics of a real tissue. Now we have to make it suitable for human transplantation. The authors are confident that the use of "cellular drives" will be useful not only in the production of donor corneas. For example, in the future, the surgeon will be able to implant a small piece of tissue into the patient's body, which will independently develop into a more complex structure.