CCMB to make artificial cornea

G Diwakar

Hyderabad, Jan 19 (PTI) The Centre for Cellular andMolecular Biology (CCMB), a premier research organisationengaged in frontier areas of modern biology, is confident ofachieving a breakthrough in making artificial corneas in next4-5 years, which they claim will put end to eye donations andserve as a boon for cataract patients.

According to Dr Ch. Mohan Rao, Director, CCMB two layersof the cornea have already been developed and the remainingpart, which is crux of the cornea, will take substantial timeand the success of the project may see an end of eye donationera in the country.

"We believe it should be possible. My rough estimate isin 4-5 years. If this project is successful there is noquestion of eye donation. We will be able to make artificialcorneas in large numbers," Dr Mohan Rao told PTI.

The project which could be major achievement in medicalhistory, and if successful may become boon for millions ofcataract patients, waiting for cornea donors for thereplacement, he said.

Presently, doctors are using an intra-ocular lens (animplanted lens) in the eye, usually replacing the existingcrystalline lens which has been clouded over by a cataract.

It usually consists of a small plastic lens with plasticside struts to hold the lens in place.

Explaining the project, Rao said they cannot make corneain plastic due to its shape.

"We can develop endothelium cell and artificially producethe whole cornea in a laboratory. The cornea is multi-layered.

So actually we have to build a composite structure. This isnot an easy thing. Everybody in the world is trying to see ifit is possible," he said. .

He also said they are working with LV Prasad Eye Institute, a city-based Eye research centre and Hospital onthe project. LV Prasad has already been successfully using thefirst cornea layer developed by CCMB.

The CCMB is also engaged in Stem Cell research in whichstem cell are produced in large number and can be used intherapeutic usage which is at the moment not possible.

"There is possibility that the stem cells can be used forany person taken from anyone. In that case also we will needlarge quantities. We are developing nano technology approacheSfor this purpose," the CCMB chief said.

He said so far there is no such system where stem cellscan be preserved for a longer period.

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