Researchers at the University at Cambridge have successfully 3D printed living retinal cells, a development they believe could lead to treatment for blindness.

“This is the first time that cells from the adult central nervous system have been successfully printed,” professor Keith Martin said in an interview with Dezeen“We’ve demonstrated that you can take cells from the retina and you can effectively separate them out. These can be put in an inkjet printer and we can print those cells out in any pattern we like and we’ve shown that those cells can survive and thrive.”

The team printed rat retinal cells, but believe the process could eventually be effective for replacing defective eye cells in humans as well. “What we’re looking to do now is to develop this towards ways of repairing the retina,” said Martin. “With time there’s no reason why you can’t print multiple different cell types in the same way that you print multiple different colors of ink. Building up 3D structures is the next step.”