October 2, 2022

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Scientists have restored sight to 14 people by creating a pig skin eye layer

A team of scientists developed a pig skin implant that was able to restore the vision of 14 Blind people. The new technique is considered less invasive and does not require stitches or much Special Must apply.

“This enables us to overcome the problem of the lack of donated corneal tissue and access to other treatments for eye diseases,” said Neil Lagaly, an ophthalmology researcher at Linköping University.

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Cornea Our eye It is made up of different types of collagen. So the researchers purified collagen from pig skin, which forms the new layer of the cornea. They used chemical and photochemical methods to strengthen the material, making it more stable and creating a hydrogel. The product is called double cross-linked bioengineered porcine construct (BPCDX).

Scientists have restored sight to 14 people by creating a pig skin eye layer. Image: Shutterstock

Since the material used to make the implant is a by-product of the food industry, thanks to specially developed packaging and sterilization processes, the final product can be stored for up to two years – an advantage over donated human corneas. Used internally for two weeks.

According to Scientific alert, published the article with the results of a clinical trial, about 12.7 million people experience vision loss due to problems with their cornea, and only 1 in 70 receive a corneal transplant — the only way to restore vision. Because the means of providing these transplants are expensive and donated irises are in short supply, most people in the world do not have access to effective treatments.

“We have made significant efforts to ensure that our invention is available and accessible to everyone, not just the rich. That’s why this technology can be used in all parts of the world,” added Mehrdat Rafat, a biomedical engineer at Linköping University.

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How is a pig skin implant placed?

The collagen structure of our eyes shrinks over time and in a condition called keratoconus it swells and distorts our vision. Although the cause of this thinning is unknown, factors such as genetics, intense eye rubbing, hay fever, asthma, Down syndrome, and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome can all increase the chances of developing the condition.

Thus, BPCDX can be placed to shorten the corneal curvature, provide lost thickness, and restore vision. Surgery requires only a 2-millimeter incision and clinical examination results show no scar formation or adverse reaction, and no intensive treatment or additional surgery is required; An eight-week course of immunosuppressive eye drops and a dressing.

A woman's iris is scanned
Scientists have restored sight to 14 people by creating a pig skin eye layer. Image: Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock

“No previous study, to our knowledge, has achieved complete corneal transparency in vivo with adequate corneal thickening and flattening or significant gains in visual acuity, as reported here,” the researchers wrote in their paper.

According to the team, an even larger clinical trial is planned to improve results and allocate data that will facilitate the process of obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals. The article is published with free access Natural Biotechnology.

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