Oleksiy Buznyk

Bioengineered corneal substitutes with anti-VEGF release system

Cornea is outermost part of the eye which is absolutely transparent and avascular. Around 30 million people worldwide are blind due to corneal diseases. Transplantation of human donor cornea is the main treatment option for these patients. Currently severe worldwide shortage of donated corneas exists. Between 30% of patients in developed countries and up to 80% of patients in developing nations remain untransplanted due to lack of donor corneas. Even if available, donor cornea carries a risk of rejection which leads to repeated loss of vision.

The project is dedicated to development of composite substitute of human donor cornea which will contain sustained delivery system of a drug which inhibit growth of vessels. The purpose to create such implants is to solve two biggest current problems of corneal transplantation: 1 – to alleviate worldwide shortage of donor corneas, and 2 – to decrease probability of donor cornea rejection via blocking of vessel ingrowth into the graft. During the project cornea substitute will be fabricated via creation of additional chemical bounds between molecules of collagen or collagen mimetic peptide. The best drug and the best delivery system which can be introduced into corneal substitute will be chosen. Properties of the created implants will be tested in experimental models.