Biomimetic Retinal Tissue Engineering

Project: Research

Description

The retina is a part of the central nervous system and is largely composed of highly specialized neurons. In patients with retinal degenerative disease, i.e retinitis pigmentosa, retinal detachment, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma, these neurons perish, leading to severe untreatable visual impairment and blindness.
In the search for a cure, investigations of retinal cells and tissues are made in the laboratory. Our group has developed a method of keeping the isolated retina alive in culture for significantly longer periods than previously possible. This has been achieved by emulating in the laboratory, conditions found within the living eye. We have thus shown that the well-being of the retina is dependent on its structural integrity and on the maintenance of the intrinsic biomechanical environment.
Our current and future research activities are focused on cell interactions and their significance in relation to retinal structure and function in health and disease, and how these interactions can be modified by tissue engineering in projects that span the translational spectrum from exploration of new pathological mechanisms to potential clinical therapies.
We have postulated a unique hypothesis on biomechanical disturbance of the tissue continuum as a common mechanism behind retinal degenerative disease, and we are also investigating how synthetic polymer gels can replace the natural vitreous and interact with the retina to restitute vision after surgery. Finally, a model of cell replacement therapy is being explored in advanced cases of disease where, in contrast to stem cell therapies, we strive to retain the tissue integrity to optimize donor survival and synapse formation with the host.
With the projects featured integration of clinical vitreoretinal surgery and basicscience, we will enhance neurobiological knowledge as well as alleviate symptoms in patients suffering from retinal degenerative disease.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date2014/11/30 → …

Participants