An artificial cornea, made from pig skin collagen, was made by Swedish researchers from Linköping University and LinkoCare Life Sciences company. The first tests were positive and allowed the patients involved in the experiment, some of them blind, to recover good visual function. The results of the trial were published on Nature Biotechnology.
Goodbye cornea transplant, an injection will suffice
by Deborah Ameri
“Although corneal blindness can be cured by transplantation, an estimated 12.7 million people await a cornea donor, with one cornea available in every 70 needed,” write the researchers who have sought to develop an affordable, accessible cornea replacement. and easy to implant.
The artificial cornea implanted to 20 patients
The device was created using collagen molecules derived from pig skin that has undergone a purification process already used for other medical applications. The artificial cornea was implanted in 20 patients suffering from a degenerative disease of the cornea (keratoconus) in Iran and India. 14 of them were legally blind. In the weeks following the surgery, the implant proved to be able to correct the damage related to the disease, restoring the thickness and structure of the cornea.
Vision improved as after a normal transplant
Participants’ eyesight improved similarly to what would have been expected after a natural cornea transplant. The 14 blind patients regained their vision and three of them acquired 10/10 perfect vision.
Work around the shortage of fabrics
“The results show that it is possible to develop a biomaterial that meets all the criteria to be used for human implants, which can be mass-produced and stored for up to two years and thus reach even more people with vision problems,” he said. Study coordinator Neil Lagali said in a note. “This bypasses the problem of a shortage of donor corneal tissue and access to other treatments for eye diseases.”