Noting Progress in Artificial Cornea Development

The development of artificial replacements proceeds in parallel with tissue engineering as a way to build replacement parts for damaged corneas. Here, publicity materials tout recent progress in artificial corneas:

ArtCornea is based on a polymer with high water-absorbent properties. [Researchers] have added a new surface coating to ensure anchorage in host tissue and functionality of the optic. The haptic edge was chemically altered to encourage local cell growth. These cells graft to the surrounding human tissue, which is essential for anchorage of the device in the host tissue. The researchers aimed to enlarge the optical surface area of the implant in order to improve light penetration beyond what had previously been possible ... Once ArtCornea is in place, it is hardly visible, except perhaps for a few stitches. It's also easy to implant and doesn't provoke any immune response

The specialists have also managed to make a chemically and biologically inert base material biologically compatible for the second artificial cornea, ACTO-TexKpro. [They] achieved this by selectively altering the base material, polyvinylidene difluoride, by coating the fluoride synthetic tissue with a reactive molecule. This allows the patient's cornea to bond together naturally with the edge of the implant, while the implant's inner optics, made of silicon, remain free of cells and clear. The ACTO-TexKpro is particularly suitable as a preliminary treatment, for instance if the cornea has been destroyed as a consequence of chronic inflammation, a serious accident, corrosion or burns.

TexKpro and ArtCornea [were] first tested by the doctors in the [laboratory] in vivo in several rabbits. After a six month healing process, the implanted prostheses were accepted by the rabbits without irritation, clearly and securely anchored within the eye. Tests carried out following the operation showed that the animals tolerated the artificial cornea well. [Clinical trials will] soon commence at the Eye Clinic Cologne-Merheim.

Link: http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2012/october/artificial-cornea-gives-the-gift-of-vision.html

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