IITD researchers devise method for improving the usability of donated corneas

Researchers at IIT Delhi have developed a method addressing the shortage of high-quality donor corneas. The research has been done in collaboration with AIIMS. Around 6.8 million people in India suffer from vision loss at least in one eye due to corneal diseases. Transplantation of cornea from deceased is primarily used for visual recovery. But half of the corneas harvested are categorized as unsuitable for keratoplasty due to various reasons, and even after transplantation the rejection rate is around 20-30%.

The researchers from the Dept of Textile Technology have established an optimal decellularization protocol, using a bioreactor, to perfuse a detergent solution directly through the cornea obtained from goat, to remove cellular and nuclear content, while preserving the orientation of collagen fibers of the cornea. Conjugation of chondroitin sulfate with corneal matrix has been found to reduce innate immune response."In the rabbit model of lamellar keratoplasty, the implanted cross linked decellularized cornea resulted in seamless integration, high transparency and reduced chance of graft rejection," says Prof Sourabh Ghosh, one of the co-authors.

This study has been accepted for publication in a special issue of ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering on May 1, 2018.