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CorNeat Vision tackles corneal injury and blindness

11 Oct 2017

New design of synthetic cornea integrates artificial optics within resident ocular tissue.

Corneal pathology is a major cause of blindness, with 20 to 30 million patients worldwide said to be in need of remedy. Current treatments include corneal transplants or implantation of an artificial cornea - called a keratoprosthesis - but neither is a perfect answer.

CorNeat Vision, based in Ra'anana, Israel, has now completed design and development of a new cornea implant that could offer a solution.

The CorNeat Kpro was unveiled at the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons Congress (ESCRS) this month in Lisbon, Portugal.

"The groundbreaking results obtained in our proof of concept, which is backed by conclusive histopathological evidence, are extremely encouraging," commented Gilad Litvin of CorNeat, inventor of the implant.

"We are entering the next phase with great confidence that CorNeat KPro will address corneal blindness just like intraocular lenses addressed cataracts."

The CorNeat Kpro is intended to improve the optical quality of the artificial graft compared to existing designs of keratoprosthesis, along with delivering improved bio-integration and better resistance to trauma.

Its design includes two elements, a central optical core surrounded by a peripheral skirt. The core covers the anterior chamber of the eye and functions as the optical part of the prosthesis, while the skirt includes a porous bio-compatible layer having pore sizes of around two microns.

According to CorNeat data, the nanofiber structure of the skirt is manufactured by an electrospinning technique, using an electrical charge to draw nanoscale fibers from a liquid precursor. The biocompatibility of the structure helps to reducing the disruptive effect of the implant after surgery, with obvious benefits for the patient.

Human patients
CorNeat describes the implant as "a synthetic cornea that utilizes advanced cell technology to integrate artificial optics within resident ocular tissue. It is produced using nanoscale chemical engineering that stimulates cellular growth."

In particular, the positioning of the implant within the tissues of the eye is said to exploit a location under the conjunctiva that is rich with fibroblast cells, assisting with the healing process and encouraging robust long-term integration.

After validation in New Zealand rabbits, the CorNeat Kpro is now the subject of formal biocompatibility and safety tests, with the company expecting the first implantation in human patients to take place by mid-2018.

"There exists an urgent need for an efficient, long-lasting and affordable solution to corneal pathology, injury and blindness, which would alleviate the suffering and disability of millions of people," said Almog Aley-Raz of CorNeat. "We are very excited to reach this important milestone in the development of our solution and are confident that the CorNeat KPro will enable millions to regain their sight."

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