An engineering team at the University of Dundee has just secured funding to work with European colleagues on the construction of artificial corneas which will allow all cornea replacements to go ahead without the patient having to wait for a donor.
The Euro 2.4m project will help people who suffer from a number of diseases requiring corneal grafting including keratoconus - a thinning of the cornea. Instead of relying on donor corneas from an eye bank, the new technology invented by biochemists, tissue engineers and structural engineers will allow the European team to grow the cornea from human stem cells in a test tube.
The team of structural engineers at the University of Dundee who will be testing the mechanical properties of the new cornea - its elasticity, resistance and strength - are the only UK team to be part of the European research project into this revolutionary cornea. The other teams are based in Sweden, Turkey, Denmark and France and Italy where surgeons will be testing the new corneas.
Dr Ahmed El-Shiek and Dr Tim Newson will be using computer imaging to create an eye and test its mechanical properties to judge how flexible, and strong the new artificial cornea will have to be. Dr El-Shiek explains: “The cornea in the eye holds all the components of the eye in place. We have to make sure that our artificial cornea is strong enough to do this but flexible enough to be as resistant to force as a real cornea. We apply pressure waves to the computer generated model and monitor the effect on the eye.”
There is currently a need to develop new forms of corneal replacements as alternatives to the use of donor corneas because there is a world-wide shortage of donors, an increasing risk of transmittable diseases and widespread use of corrective surgery which renders corneas unsuitable for grafting and the limitations of currently available synthetic polymer-based artificial corneas.
As well as their contribution to the cornea project, Ahmed and Tim are looking at the other possibilities of the virtual eye they have created. The amount of the cornea skimmed off during laser surgery is currently judged on what has worked before for other people. Ahmed and Tim are going to use their model to predict how each eye will react to laser surgery improving the effectiveness of laser surgery and optimising the process.
Jenny Marra | University of Dundee
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...