Start -End date: 19/07/2018 – 18/07/2021
Short Description: The corneal endothelial cells pump fluids out from the cornea keeping hydration levels normal and vision clear and are irreplaceable as they are rarely divided, and do not regenerate once damaged. Their damage due to trauma or disease results in corneal edema that may cause in loss of transparency of the cornea, and even blindness. To date, 13 million people expect a cornea transplant globally; in 40% of them the transplant is necessary due to endothelial function failure. EyeYon Medical has developed the EndoArt® (Artificial Endothelial Layer) implant, a biocompatible silicon disc that adheres to the endothelium of the posterior corneal surface, preventing the transfer of fluids into the cornea thus alleviating the disease. The CORI project aims to further develop this technology with the improvement of the adhesion properties of the EndoArt® implants with the use of laser surface patterning and/or plasma polymerization to produce different nanostructured coatings. The improvement of the adhesion properties of the implants will be validated in vitro using corneal endothelial cells and stromal cells lines and in vivo in a preclinical animal study. Using the rabbit model of Cornea Bullous Keratopathy endothelial injury in vivo we will examine whether the EndoArt® implants with enhanced adhesion properties may alleviate the disease. The envisaged outcomes from the CORI project will be a modified EndoArt® implant by two different micro-nano strategies in order to improve its existing adhesiveness to the tissue for a long time (lifetime) with minimal chance for detachment leading to reduced need for cornea transplant. Thus the target market of the implant is the global market for treating corneal problems which each year has about 2 million new cases of corneal edema, with approximately 0.5 million of them requiring a cornea transplant.