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They restore vision to 20 people with experimental pig collagen corneas

A scientific team has developed A pig skin collagen protein transplant that resembles a human cornea And, in a pilot study, the technology was able to restore vision to twenty people with diseased corneas, most of whom were blind before receiving the transplant.

The work, led jointly by researchers from Linköping University (LEU) and Linköcare Life Sciences AB in Sweden, is published in Nature Biotechnology. According to its authors, these are “promising results that bring hope to those who suffer from corneal blindness and low vision.”

The goal, they say, is to provide a bioengineered transplant as an alternative to transplanting donated human corneas, which are in short supply in the countries where they are needed most.

An estimated 12.7 million people worldwide are blind because their cornea, the outermost clear layer of the eye, is damaged or diseased, so the only way to regain their vision is to receive a transplant cornea from a human donor. But only one patient out of 70 gets this transplant., In addition, the majority of those who need it live in low- and middle-income countries where access to treatment is very limited.

“We have made significant efforts to ensure that our invention is widely available and affordable to all, not just the wealthy,” says Mehrdad Rafat, a professor at LIU and the company’s founder and CEO Joe. The bioengineers used in the study make up the cornea. study.

The cornea is primarily made up of the protein collagen. To create a substitute for the human cornea, the researchers used collagen molecules derived from pig skin, which are highly purified and produced under harsh conditions for use in humans. The pork skin used is a by-product of the food industry, so it is Easy access and economical, according to the researchers. In the process of manufacturing the implant, the team immobilized the loose collagen molecules into a strong, transparent material that could withstand manipulation and implantation in the eye.

While the donated cornea must be used within two weeks, Bioengineered corneas can be stored for up to two years before use,

The researchers also developed a new minimally invasive surgical method, in which a small incision is made through which the implant is inserted into the cornea and does not require stitches. The surgical method and transplantation were used by surgeons in Iran and India, 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 are blind or about to lose their sight Caused by advanced keratoconus – a disease in which the cornea becomes so thin that it can cause blindness Participated in pilot clinical studies and received a biomaterial implant. Operations were simple, tissues healed rapidly, and an 8-week course of immunosuppressive eye drops was sufficient to prevent rejection. The patients were followed for two years and no complications were observed during that time.

Before implants can be used in health care, a larger clinical study is required, followed by approval by regulatory authorities.

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