Biosynthetic Corneas

From Maria Konovalenko: "A recent study from researchers in Canada and Sweden has shown that biosynthetic corneas can help regenerate and repair damaged eye tissue and improve vision in humans. ... This study is important because it's the first to show that an artificially fabricated cornea can integrate with the human eye and stimulate regeneration. With further research, this approach could help restore sight to millions of people who are waiting for a donated human cornea for transplantation. ... Eye surgeons currently use cadaver corneas for transplants, but that requires the use of anti-rejection drugs and presents a risk of infection. Plastic corneas can also be used, but they present other problems and are generally tried only when tissue transplants have failed. To fabricate the biosynthetic cornea, human genes were inserted into yeast cells to generate recombinant human collagen. The collagen was then chemically cross-linked and molded into a scaffold in the shapes and sizes of normal human corneas. ... The implant acts like a scaffold to attract cell and nerve ingrowth, the end result is a cornea that looks and functions like a healthy cornea. ... The clinical trial consisted of 10 patients who underwent surgery on one eye to remove damaged corneal tissue and replace it with a biosynthetic cornea. Over two years of follow-up, the researchers observed that cells and nerves from the patients' own corneas had actually grown into the implant, resulting in a 'regenerated' cornea that resembled normal, healthy tissue."



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