The researchers say they want to design a solution that is affordable and easy for everyone.
First results more than encouraging. A team from Linköping University in Sweden announced in Nature Biotechnology having succeeded in restoring sight to three blind people. This breakthrough, unveiled on August 11, was made possible thanks to an implant designed from pig skin cells.
These artificial corneas were installed on twenty volunteer patients suffering from keratoconus. Fourteen of them had become blind as a result of this progressive disease. While three obtained complete vision thanks to the implant, all partially regained their sight.
An “available and affordable” solution
Solutions already exist for people who suffer from this disease, but require human transplants, as explained Science and Future. The advantage of using pig skin cells is that it is an easy to find raw material, and which can therefore be more quickly accessible for the more than 12 million people who would be blind due to a keratoconus.
“We went to great lengths to ensure that our invention would be widely available and affordable to everyone, not just the wealthy. That’s why this technology could be used anywhere in the world,” explained the first author of the study, Mehrdad Rafat, in a press release.
However, you should not expect to have access to these prostheses immediately. These results correspond to a first stage of testing in humans. It will be necessary to continue working on this solution before it is put on the market for the people who need it.