Australian scientists develop cell culture technology of the cornea on a transparent hydrogen membrane, which can be used for transplantation of eyes and restoration of vision for the blind.
Science Alert on 16, August reported that the new method was successfully tested on sheep and it had enormous potential in the field of corneal transplantation. If this technology can be applied in humans, it will help change the lives of approximately 10 million patients worldwide.
At present, corneal transplantation is the most effective way to help restore vision related to corneal damage. Nevertheless, donor corneas sources are very scarce. In addition, the risk of rejecting and having to use steroids to prevent rejection is also a difficulty when transplanting corneas. Transparent thin membrane developed by the team of Ozcelik can minimize these risks.
“We believe that this new therapy is more effective than using donated corneas. We hope to be able to use a patient’s own cells to minimize rejection. In the coming year, we will conduct clinical trials”, Berkay Ozcelik bioengineer, the study leader at the University of Melbourne, Australia, said.
The researchers took samples of sheep corneal cells, culturing them on hydrogen membranes to increase the number of cells and then assemble them in the eyes. After transplanting into the eye, the new cells will absorb moisture from the tear duct of the eye to grow healthily.
Hydrogen membrane has the thickness of 50 micrometers, thinner than a human hair. After transplanting, the cells get water flowing between the cornea and the eye area. Hydrogen membrane will start to melt and disappear within two months.
“Hydrogen helps minimize inflammation and no irritation as well as the ability of promoting tissue regeneration. Therefore, this method can be applied in many different cases,” Ozcelik said.
“Another benefit of this technology is that we can use the donated cells to create the corneal cells and use them for many patients,” Ozcelik said.