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Pattaya Daily News

29 August 2010 :: 17:08:15 pm 37073

Lab Corneas Gives Hope for Improved Sight

Corneas made in a laboratory, gives hope to those who are losing their eye sight, after ten patients waiting for human donor tissues received custom made corneas in experimental studies which has improved their vision.
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Grown entirely from yeast and human DNA, the biosynthetic implants were made from a synthetic version of human collagen designed to mimic the cornea by the company “Fybrogen” from Sweden. The implants could be a possibility for replacement human donor tissues and be a step forward in restoring vision to the partially sighted.

The custom made corneas prompt regeneration of the nerves and cells in the eye and this is the first time vision has been restored in this way. The ability to see is dependent on the cornea which is the transparent layer that covers the pupil, iris and front of the eye and refracts light to focus images on the retina and because the cornea is responsible for controlling light that enters the eye, it needs to be transparent and so has no blood supply. Damages to the cornea, is the second biggest cause of blindness and affects nearly 10 million people worldwide.

Cornea damage and disease is treated by human donors, but there is a worldwide shortage and it is only possible where there are tissue banks. The ten guinea pig patients had their dead tissue removed from their corneas and replaced with the new manufactured implants and were then monitored for two years after the surgery in order to record how well the implants were incorporated into the eye.

Vision was noted to have improved in six of the patients from around 20/400 to 20/100 which meant they were able to see objects four times further away than before the operation though sight was restored in all of the ten patients who received the artificial implants. All ten of the patients were on the waiting list in Sweden for human donor grafts. Surprised by the success was Doctor May Griffith, a professor of regenerative medicine at Linkopings University in Sweden one of the authors of the two year study who said the goal was to actually test the safety of the corneas in humans and so the improvement in vision was a real bonus.

The success of the implants is down to the ability to allow tissues in the eye to regenerate and the patients’ own cells and nerves that grow back in and around the man made cornea to the resemble normal and healthy tissue.

The patients have all recovered their sight in the way they would have had, had they received human donor corneas and in some respects, the eye recovered far better than compared to a human graft, with nerve regeneration growing faster in all patients and there was less problems of rejection. The authors have stressed that this is only an initial study on the ten people, but they optimistic about the potential once further clinical tests are over. This research has been published in the Journal Science Translational Medicine.

Tomas Schaffenberg

Photo : Internet   Category : Health

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