The method has been portrayed as much safer and more effective than other analogues, as it employs biodegradable material and stem cells.
Bullous keratopathy is a dangerous eye disease leading to vision loss. It can be caused by defects in the cornea’s internal layer resulting in aqueous misdirection and corneal edema.
A surgery approach — barrier keratoplasty — allows for the recovery of the cornea. The method is the following: the cornea’s affected area is fixed by an implant made of polymer film, which recovers the eye’s fluid exchange.
The scientists are developing new biodegradable implants, “loaded” with blood stem cells, which can be possibly used in keratoplasty and the recovery of the cornea.
“This is the first time we have implemented biodegradable implants in keratoplasty. Judging from the preliminary results, we are now capable of delivering stem cells to the cornea’s affected area. Moreover, it uses biodegradable implants makes surgery several times less traumatic and needs no intervention for implant removal”, Ekaterina Philippova says.
The scientists believe that this method spark’s an organism reaction to xenophthalmia. Tests have shown that it took three months for a cornea to recover, and that the implant was reabsorbed completely within half a year.
“Our task here is to pick the most effective and less damaging method for material sterilisation. This is an important step to be taken for the sake of further developments. Sterilisation facilitates the recovery of the cornea, but there are also concerns due to the fact that certain properties might be damaged (lost) after the treatment. Our research approach is treating materials with hybrid methods, containing plasma and gamma sterilisation, Nina Ivanova says.
As of now, the scientists are in the final stage of developing a more effective prototype of implants – a so-called “track-etched membrane made of polylactic acid”.