A biomaterial made from pig skin collagen, developed by researchers at the University of Linköping in Sweden, was responsible for restoring the sight of 14 people from Iran and India who are visually impaired. Less invasive, the new technique does not require stitches and very specialized equipment to be applied.
The possibility of using material derived from pigs, according to the researchers, is an important help to solve the problem of scarcity of donated corneal tissues and access to other treatments for eye diseases. The implantation of the material is considered safe by the scientists, since the volunteers who had their sight recovered could hardly see anything else before the procedure.
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Collagen, the main material of the cornea, was used by the researchers during the study. The protein molecules derived from the epidermis of pigs, also used, underwent a purification process for use in humans. Then, the loose collagen molecules were stabilized and aggregated into a clear and firm material, resistant to manipulation and implantation in the eye.
The material was also used in volunteers without total loss of vision, but who had advanced keratoconus, a progressive disease whose causes have not yet been clarified, according to information from the portal. Digital Look. The scientists also explained in the study that the technology does not require stitches and can be performed with simple surgical materials.
“A less invasive method could be used in more hospitals, thus helping more people (…) With our method, the surgeon does not need to remove the patient’s own tissue. Instead, a small incision is made, through the which the implant is inserted into the existing cornea”, pointed out, through a note, the leader of the group of scientists, Neil Lagali.
The new technique has been tested by surgeons in Iran and India, countries where many people suffer from corneal blindness and low vision, and where there is a shortage of corneal donation and treatment options. The interventions performed on the volunteers did not result in complications, as the tissue healed quickly.
The researchers said that an eight-week treatment with immunosuppressive eye drops was enough to prevent implant rejection. In addition, patients were followed up for two years and no complications were observed during this period. According to the study, the participants’ vision improved as much as a corneal transplant with donated tissue.
In all, 20 were the volunteers who participated in the study, of which 14 had total vision loss. After a period of two years of observation, tests carried out attested that all of them were seeing, but that three of them were able to see perfectly again. The researchers said the material could be mass produced and stored for up to two years.
“The results show that it is possible to develop a biomaterial that meets all the criteria to be used as a human implant, which can be mass produced and stored for up to two years and thus reach even more people with vision problems. helps to overcome the problem of scarcity of donated corneal tissue and access to other treatments for eye diseases”, points out Neil.
With information from the Olhar Digital portal
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