Washington: Scientists are in the process of developing two different types of artificial corneas, which they hope could save the vision of those affected by corneal diseases.Thousands of people have lost their eyesight due to damages to the cornea, such as trauma, absent limbal stem cells or diseases. Transplantation of a donor cornea is the therapy of choice for a great number of those patients. Let alone the issue of scarce donor material, a sub-group of patients do not tolerate transplanted corneas, necessitating the employment of an alternative means of restoring eye sight.In close cooperation with the Aachen Centre of Technology Transfer, Dr. Storsberg and his team from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer research IAP in Potsdam, are attempting to improve the situation by developing an artificial cornea.Scientific partners in the “ART CORNEA” project include the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, ACTO e. V. and the Ophthalmic Clinic Cologne-Merheim.“We are in the process of developing two different types of artificial corneas. One of them can be used as an alternative to a donor cornea in cases where the patient would not tolerate a donor cornea, let alone the issue of donor material shortage,” said IAP project manager Dr. Joachim Storsberg.The scientist has considerable expertise in developing and testing of next-generation biomaterials. Between 2005 and 2009 he collaborated with interdisciplinary teams and private companies to successfully develop an artificial cornea specifically for patients whose cornea had become clouded – a condition that is extremely difficult to treat.Such patients are unable to accept a donor cornea either due to their illness or because they have already been through several unsuccessful transplantation attempts.Dr. Storsberg was awarded the Josef-von-Fraunhofer Prize 2010 for this achievement.
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