The Tej Kohli Foundation is progressing towards a non-surgical treatment for corneal blindness through the development of an injectable biosynthetic ‘glue-filler’. The technology aims to bridge the gap between the high cost of treatment and the unmet medical needs in disadvantaged communities worldwide.
The biosynthetic solution, in liquid form, sets as a gel at body temperature before being modified to act as a tissue glue. The material then has the potential to seal corneal perforations and cause the regeneration of corneal tissue, possibly eliminating the need for corneal transplant surgery.
the biosynthetic ‘glue-filler’ could be administered from a syringe by an ophthalmologist in a 30-minute procedure and without an operating theatre
The technology was developed as a result of collaborative research between ophthalmology departments in Hyderabad, India, Montreal, Canada, and Moorefield’s Eye Hospital and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology in London.
Dr Bruce Allan, Consultant Eye Surgeon at Moorefield’s Eye Hospital said, “Blindness as a consequence of corneal perforation is common, particularly in developing countries where there is often no access to corneal transplantation”.
India has the world’s largest corneal blind population, requiring 100,000 donor corneas annually but only 17,000 eyes are being procured every year. This shortage, combined with the cost of invasive corneal transplant surgery and subsequent medicines, means the need for a non-surgical treatment is significant.
“Novel glue fillers that have the potential to seal the cornea and promote natural tissue regeneration do not require expensive infrastructure and can be used anywhere. We are very excited to be working with the Tej Kohli Foundation on this,” said Dr Allan.
Research suggests that the biosynthetic ‘glue-filler’ could be administered from a syringe by an ophthalmologist in a 30-minute procedure and without an operating theatre. As well as this, the reliance on the regeneration of the patients’ own corneal tissue means that rejection will be low compared to grafting, removing the long term need for expensive immunosuppressant drugs.
Wendy Kohli, co-Founder of the Tej Kohli Foundation said the foundation’s mission is to eliminate needless corneal blindness by 2035.
“For a number of years we have been quietly funding our Applied Research program to develop an affordable, scalable and accessible treatment for corneal blindness that is suitable for the poor and underserved communities where corneal blindness is most pervasive. It is very exciting that our proprietary solution is now ready to enter into clinical trials.”
Find out more about the Tej Kohli Foundation here.