Development of the first biohybrid artificial retina built with silk fibroin and retinal cells.

December 11, 2020

"The biohybrid retina is a cell therapy for the reconstruction of the damaged retina by implanting healthy cells in the patient's eye," says Fivos Panetsos, director of the Neuro-computation and Neuro-robotics Group of the UCM and member of the Institute of Health Research of the Hospital Clínico San Carlos de Madrid (IdISSC).

The cells of the artificial retina adhere to very thin silk fibroin biofilms - a biomaterial 100% biocompatible with human tissue - and covered by a gel which protects them during eye surgery and allows them to survive during the time they need to get integrated with thesurrounding tissue after transplantation.

"The transplanted retina also contains mesenchymal cells that function as producers of neuroprotective and neuroreparative molecules and facilitate functional integration between implanted and patient cells", adds UCM's researcher and director of the study, published in the Journal of Neural Engineering .

One more step in a problem with more than 196 million affected

To build this artificial retina, researchers have developed silk fibroin films with mechanical characteristics similar to Bruch's membrane - the layer of cells that supports the neural retina. Then, they have biofunctionalized them so that retinal cells could adhere, and on them they have grown epithelial and neural cells. Finally, they have carried out an in vitro study of the structural and functional characteristics of the biohybrid.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a neurodegenerative disease that causes a progressive loss of central vision and even blindness in its most advanced stage. Triggered by heterogeneous, complex and still poorly understood mechanisms, it is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in people over 65 years of age and affects more than 196 million people worldwide.

AMD is an incurable disease, and current treatments can only alleviate symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease. "This research is an important step towards solving the problem of blindness faced by AMD patients", concludes Panetsos.
-end-
In addition to UCM and IdISSC, participated among others the Center for Biomedical Technology of the Polytechnic University of Madrid, La Paz University Hospital, CIBER for Bioengineering, Biomaterials and Nanomedicine, University of Kiel (Germany), Tufts University (USA) and the spin-off Silk Biomed SL

Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Related Blindness Articles from Brightsurf:

New eye drops may prevent a common cause of blindness
New eye drops could prevent vision loss after retinal vein occlusion, a major cause of blindness for millions of adults, a study by Columbia University researchers has found.

Scientists pinpoint brain coordinates for face blindness
Danish and Norwegian researchers have moved one step closer to understanding where face blindness stems from in the brain.

Protein closely linked to commonest cause of blindness
An international team of scientists has identified a protein which is strongly linked to the commonest cause of blindness in developed countries when its levels are raised in the blood.

New glaucoma test to help prevent blindness
Researchers have identified 107 genes that increase a person's risk of developing the eye disease glaucoma, and now developed a genetic test to detect those at risk of going blind from it.

Treatments for leading cause of blindness generate $0.9 to $3 billion
A new economic study, published in JAMA Ophthalmology and conducted by USC researchers at the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics, the Ginsburg Institute for Biomedical Therapeutics, and the Roski Eye Institute, quantifies the benefits of treatment for wAMD.

Identifying a gene for canine night blindness
An international team of researchers led by the University of Pennsylvania's Keiko Miyadera has identified the gene mutation responsible for a form of night blindness in dogs.

Poor diet can lead to blindness
An extreme case of 'fussy' or 'picky' eating caused a young patient's blindness, according to a new case report published today [2 Sep 2019] in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Brighter possibilities for treating blindness
Advances in preclinical research are now being translated into innovative clinical solutions for blindness, a review published in the 10th anniversary series of science Translational Medicine depicts.

How blindness shapes sound processing
Adults who lost their vision at an early age have more refined auditory cortex responses to simple sounds than sighted individuals, according to new neuroimaging research published in JNeurosci.

Study identifies new genes associated with the leading cause of blindness
A new study, published in Clinical Epigenetics, identifies genes associated with Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) that could represent new targets for future drug development.

Read More: Blindness News and Blindness Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.