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New gel enables healing of eye injuries without surgery

New gel enables healing of eye injuries without surgery


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Adhesive gel promotes regeneration after injuries to the cornea

A newly developed adhesive gel could reduce the need for eye surgery in the event of injuries to the cornea, including cases that would normally require a corneal transplant.

A recent investigation has developed a type of adhesive gel that could revolutionize the repair of injuries to the cornea. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Science Advances".

Gel supports the regeneration of corneal tissue

An adhesive gel filled with light-activated substances can seal cuts or ulcers on the cornea (the clear surface of the eye) and then promote the regeneration of corneal tissue. The new gel for corneal regeneration is called GelCORE. The researchers wanted to create a clear, highly adhesive material that not only allows the cornea to close the defect, but also to regenerate it.

Visual disturbances often arise from injuries to the cornea

Corneal injuries are a common cause of vision problems worldwide. More than 1.5 million cases of so-called corneal blindness are reported every year. Injuries to the cornea are currently being treated with the use of synthetic adhesives or surgery. However, the currently available synthetic adhesives are quite coarse, inherently toxic to the tissue, difficult to handle and can lead to considerable vision loss due to the opacity of the material and the poor integration into the corneal tissue. Corneal grafts also pose a risk of complications after the transplant, including infection or rejection.

GelCORE takes on biomechanical properties of the cornea

The team developed the adhesive biomaterial GelCORE from chemically modified gelatin and photoinitiators, which are activated by brief exposure to blue light. The gel is initially a clear, viscous material that hardens when exposed to light. The material takes on the biomechanical properties of a natural cornea. Over time, the so-called cornea cells gradually grow into this material and become one with it. GelCORE is therefore similar to the natural cornea. GelCORE is highly transparent, binds to the native tissue and supports cell and tissue regeneration. Similar adhesive technologies have also been developed for lung and other eye defects, but GelCORE uses visible blue light for the first time, in contrast to ultraviolet light, which can be harmful to health. This is not the case with blue light.

How did the gel work in experiments?

In a preclinical model of corneal injury, the researchers applied GelCORE in a concentration of 20 percent to corneal defects three millimeters in diameter and then exposed the gel to blue light that was visible for four minutes. Immediately after exposure, they observed firm adhesion of the gel to the corneal defect. A day later, a transparent, smooth eye surface appeared with a surrounding cornea that was clear and without inflammation. One week after application, the gel could still be observed at the defect site in the cornea and remained transparent. Over time, the tissue showed signs of regeneration, with the cells of the new tissue showing similarities between regenerated tissue and native tissue.

More research is needed

The properties of GelCORE can be regulated by varying the concentration and the duration of exposure to light. This provides the ability to customize the application for different types and severity of eye injuries. The researchers hope to be able to quickly begin clinical trials to test the technology on human patients in about a year. (as)

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Comments:

  1. Mezizahn

    In my opinion, this is relevant, I will take part in the discussion.

  2. Kejar

    I am sorry, it not absolutely approaches me. Perhaps there are still variants?



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