Scientists have restored vision to 20 people using a bioengineered cornea made from pig skin. The breakthrough brings hope to the estimated 12.7 million people globally who are blind due to their corneas being damaged or diseased.
Hitherto, people with cornea disease have required a transplant from a human donor to be able to see again. However, just one in 70 patients receives one.
That could soon change after scientists at Linköping University (LiU) and LinkoCare research institute in Sweden developed an alternative from pig skin, a byproduct of the meat industry.
“The results show that it is possible to develop a biomaterial that meets all the criteria for being used as human implants, which can be mass produced and stored up to two years and thereby reach even more people,” said LiU Prof Neil Lagali, a lead researcher.
A larger trial and regulatory approval is required before the implant can be used in healthcare. The results of the study were published in Nature.
Image: Thor Balkhed
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