22 Jan '18
A scientific team in Novosibirsk, in Siberia, has developed what it claims is the “world’s first” degradable bioimplant to fight glaucoma.
According to the World Health Organization, glaucoma is the most widespread cause of blindness. The disease manifests itself through slowly progressing degeneration of the optic nerve, a typical consequence of chronic ocular hypertension when the optic nerve fails to transmit visual information from the retina to the brain, thus causing an irretrievable loss of visual perception.
The researchers at the Novosibirsk branch of the Academician Fyodorov Eye Microsurgery Center partnered with Vertikal, a local high-tech company, to develop what branch CEO Valery Chernykh referred to as “the world’s first biodegradable microprosthetic device, an implant to treat glaucoma.”
“Using our prosthesis will help patients preserve their eyesight,” Mr. Chernykh added with confidence.
The current glaucoma therapy calls for the creation of surgically induced drainage to lower intraocular pressure (IOP) by draining intraocular fluid. Within five years of surgery, tissue grows over the implant that is almost solely used for this surgery in Russia, thus occluding the pouring of the fluid. That renders nearly 30% of such medical operations ineffective, and necessitates recurrent surgery every five years.
The new solution offers biodegradable drainage consisting of caprolactan, an artificial polymer, and collagen, a natural polymer with properties biocompatible with the eye tissue, which degrades biologically within four months.
“By the end of this period the patient’s body will have used the prosthesis to grow natural and unobstructable intraocular fluid drain. The implant insertion surgery costs $260-340, depending on complexity, versus double or triple that with the imported implant used,” Mr. Chernykh said.