Cornea Mimetic Biomaterials: Vitrified Collagen-cyclodextrin Implants

Case ID:
Disclosure Date:
Unmet Need:
Due to eye injuries and ocular diseases such as keratitis and keratoconus, nearly 5 million patients in the world suffer from corneal blindness. The cornea is a transparent multilayered tissue of the eye that consists of epithelial and endothelial layers and helps focus the light on the retina. However, injuries to the cornea can cause corneal scarring which results in a haze that impairs vision. There is a limited availability of donor corneas especially in developing regions of Asia and Africa which translates to a low percentage of individuals that can receive treatment. Current standards of care include donor corneas and synthetic corneas. Donor corneas, which are considered the best corneal replacement, have issues with availability, storage, and distribution. Synthetic corneas can successfully correct for refractive properties of the damaged corneas; however, because they are synthetic polymer based, they do not support tissue remodeling or integration into the patient’s body which can lead to complications. There is a need to develop synthetic alternatives that supports tissue remodeling and replicates the physical properties of a native healthy cornea.
Technology Overview:
Researchers at Hopkins have developed a corneal mimetic structure. Normal corneas contain high amounts of proteoglycans, which play a critical role in corneal transparency by regulating the collagen fiber diameter and spacing. However, it is difficult to derive a large amount of purified proteoglycans. In its place, investigators substituted cyclodextrins, circular sugar molecules that are easy to synthesis and are routinely used in other biological applications. The cyclodextrin-collagen matrix forms a thick, transparent and mechanically strong collagen-based composition. This biocomposition mimics the multilayered structure of the cornea, with different layers promoting different biological properties. It also supports tissue remodeling that synthetic corneas are unable to do, making this invention a practical and functional alternative for corneal regeneration. This synthetic biocomposition also addresses issues of limited availability of donor corneas.
Stage of Development:
Results from a rabbit model demonstrate cyclodextrin-collagen implants can serve as corneal substitutes with high transparency, ease of suturability and biomimetic ultrastructure.
Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Sonriza Ford
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