Researchers patent new corneal injury repair technique

Researchers at the University of Bradford, UK, have applied for a patent for a new technique that they say will effectively enable the body to ‘grow’ a new cornea to restore sight to patients blinded due to corneal injury.


Lead researcher Associate Professor Farshid Sefat, from the University’s Faculty of Engineering and Informatics, said the technique involved a biopolymer to create a ‘scaffold’ for regenerative stem cells. These cells reside in a special ‘niche’ inside the eye, only becoming active when eye tissue is damaged, he said.


"It is already possible to transplant corneas from donors and it is also possible to use artificial materials. However, when we use an artificial material, such as a polymer, most researchers around the world work with just one layer; when you try to work with more than one layer, it becomes very complicated.” The human cornea, however, is made up of five layers, said Dr Sefat. “What we have done is develop a new ‘recipe’ that will enable us to create multiple layers, upon which stem cells create a new cornea.”


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