In Sweden, three blind people regained their sight thanks to an implant made from pig cells.
A research team from Linköping University (Sweden) has enabled three blind people to regain their sight thanks to an artificial cornea made from pig skin cells. In any case, this is what the researchers say in a study published on August 11, 2022 in Nature Biotechnology.
As explained by Sciences et Avenir, twenty voluntary participants agreed to take part in the study. The latter were suffering from keratoconus, a corneal disease which causes a deterioration of vision. Note that fourteen of them had become blind because of the disease.
An available and affordable solution
The artificial implants enabled three blind volunteers to recover full vision, while the others partially recovered their sight. This is not the first time that scientists have managed to restore vision in patients suffering from keratoconus. But these interventions required human grafts, specifies Sciences and Avenir.
You may not know it, but 12 million people are affected by this disease, and pig cells are a solution to cure them. The reason ? It is an easily accessible raw material, underlines the scientific magazine.
“We went to great lengths to ensure that our invention would be widely available and affordable to everyone, not just the wealthy. This is why this technology could be used anywhere in the world,” said the first author of the study, Mehrdad Rafat, in a press release.
In addition, this material could be stored for up to two years before being used. Finally, this type of transplant requires a less invasive and less expensive surgical procedure: “The surgeon does not need to remove the patient’s own tissue. Instead, a small incision is made, through which the implant is inserted into the existing cornea,” said Neil Lagali, professor of experimental ophthalmology at Linköping University.
Before adding: “It is a less invasive method, requiring less resources and which could be used in more hospitals, thus helping more people”.