Researchers and entrepreneurs have developed An implant made of collagen protein from pig skin that resembles human cornea and restored vision to 20 people, most of them are blind. This is explained in a study led by researchers from Linköping University and the company Linkocare Life Sciences AB (Sweden), and published in the journal “Nature Biotechnology.”
The results of that study offer hope for people with corneal blindness and low vision by providing a bioengineered implant As an alternative to transplanting donated human corneas, which are in short supply in countries where they are most needed, Notifies Servimedia.
Around 12.7 million people worldwide have lost their vision because their corneawhich is the outermost transparent layer of the eye, are damaged or diseased, The only way to get his vision back is to get a transplanted cornea from a human donor, but only one in 70 gets it. In addition, the majority of people who need a corneal transplant survive In low- and middle-income countries, where access to treatment is limited.
“The results suggest that it is possible to develop a biomaterial that meets all the criteria to be used as a human implant, which can be mass-produced and stored for up to two years and thus improve vision.” can reach more people with problems. It helps us tackle the problem of lack of donated corneal tissue and access to other treatments for eye diseases,” said Professor Neil Lagley, from the Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences at Linköping University it is said.
“The safety and efficacy of bioengineered implants has been at the core of our work,” says Mehrdad Rafat, the researcher and entrepreneur behind the implant’s design and development. He is an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Linköping University and is the founder and CEO of Linköcare Life Sciences AB, which manufactures the bioengineered corneas used in the study.
Rafat said that “we have made significant efforts to ensure that our invention is widely available and affordable to all, not just the wealthy. Therefore, this technology can be used in all parts of the world.” Is.”
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The cornea is primarily made up of the protein collagen. Researchers to create alternative to human cornea Collagen molecules derived from highly purified pig skin produced under harsh conditions for human use are used.
The used pig hide is a by-product of the food industry, making it easily accessible and economically profitable. In the process of manufacturing the implant, the researchers immobilized the loose collagen molecules and created a strong, transparent material that could withstand handling and implantation in the eye.
Although the donated cornea must be used within two weeks, Bioengineered corneas can be stored for up to two years before its use. Researchers have also developed a new, minimally invasive way of treating keratoconus disease, in which the cornea becomes so thin that it can cause blindness. Today, the cornea of a patient with advanced-stage keratoconus is surgically removed and replaced with a donated cornea, which is sutured with surgical sutures. This type of surgery is invasive and is only performed in large university hospitals.
“Less invasive methods can be used in more hospitals, thus helping more people. With our method, the surgeon does not need to remove the patient’s own tissue. Instead, a small incision is made through which the implant is inserted into the existing cornea,” says Lagali.
This new surgical method doesn’t require stitches, The incision in the cornea can be made with great precision thanks to an advanced laser, but also by hand with simple surgical instruments whenever necessary. This method was first tested in pigs and was found to be simpler and potentially safer than conventional corneal transplantation.
Surgical method and transplant were used by surgeons in Iran and IndiaTwo countries where many people suffer from corneal blindness and low vision, but where there is a significant lack of donated corneas and treatment options.
Twenty people who were blind or near loss of vision due to advanced keratoconus participated in a pilot clinical study and received a biomaterial implant. The operations were free of complications, tissues healed quickly, and an 8-week course of immunosuppressive eye drops was sufficient to prevent implant rejection. The patients were followed for two years and no complications were observed during that time.
The main objective of this experimental clinical study was to investigate whether the implant is safe for use. However, the researchers were puzzled by what happened to the implants. The thickness and curvature of the cornea were normalized.
The participants’ vision improved as much as they would have after a corneal transplant with donated tissue.