About the Project
Corneal diseases rank third among the leading causes of blindness worldwide. There are multiple causes of corneal blindness, and the common treatment for this condition often involves corneal tissue transplantation. However, there is a significant global shortage of donor corneas. Biomaterials have the potential to address this shortage.
Therefore, the objective of our part in the CodeChi project is to investigate biomaterials for corneal transplantation. Specifically, we focus on CS membranes and their biocompatibility with human corneas. These membranes must also meet various construction criteria, as illustrated in Figure 1 (Design criteria for tissue engineering of stromal cornea replacement membranes).
To achieve this, we are currently developing potential corneal replacement membranes at the Department for Functional Materials in Medicine and Dentistry, University of Würzburg. Dr.-Ing. Gregor Lang is leading these efforts, employing techniques such as Electrostatic Spinning (ES), Melt-Electro-Writing (MEW), and 3D Bioprinting. These methods enable the creation of composite structures that fulfill the necessary design criteria.
In the upcoming investigations conducted by the team led by Dr. med. S. Zwingelberg (MD) at the University hospital of Cologne and the hospital of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the developed membranes will be tested in both cell and organ cultures using human corneas. Upon successful completion of these tests, pharmacologically active substances will be examined to tailor specific applications for individual patients with different corneal diseases.