Artificial Cornea Startup Advances Towards Human Trials
Israel-based startup CorNeat Vision is developing an alternative to corneal transplant surgery
Lilach Baumer | 12:29 09.10.2017
Israel-based startup CorNeat Vision completed the design and development of its synthetic cornea implant, the company announced Friday. The technology is being showcased this week in Lisbon, Portugal, at the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons Congress (ESCRS).
CoreNeat develops a synthetic cornea that operates by inserting artificial optics under the membrane that covers the white of the eyes. Nanoscale chemical engineering is then used to stimulate cell growth and promote the implant's integration into the tissue. The procedure takes around 30 minutes, compared to routine cornea transplant surgeries that take around 1-2 hours.
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Artificial corneas have been in some use since the 1960s and are traditionally used when cornea transplant fails."Corneal pathology is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide with 20-30 million patients in need of a remedy and around 2 million new cases a year," Almog Aley-Raz, CorNeat VisionCEO and vice president of research and development, said in the announcement. "Though a profound cause of distress and disability, existing solutions, such as corneal transplantation, are carried out only about 200,000 times a year worldwide. Together, corneal transplantation, and to a much lesser extent artificial implants (KPros), address only 5%-10% of cases." The company completed its solution validation tests in rabbits and is currently starting tests toward human trials, planned for mid-2018. Its product has been cleared by the European Patent Office, patent pending.