The liquid retinal prosthesis also works in the advanced stages of retinitis pigmentosa

From Health Editorial Team

Good results on experimental models open for application to humans: the cortex is reactivated, sharpness is restored, and visual memories are back in shape. All-Italian research published in Nature

effectiveness liquid artificial retina It was introduced in 2020 by the Italian Institute of Technology, San Martino Medical Hospital (Genoa) and IRCCS Sacro Cuore Don Calabria Hospital in Negrar (Verona) now also in the most advanced and irreversible stages of retinitis pigmentosa. The successful outcome of the experiment, just published in the scientific journal Nature Communications by the research teams at the institutes, represents an additional approach to the feasibility of Future human clinical trials.

How it works

The biocompatible liquid prosthesis with high precision and consists of a Aqueous component in which nanoparticles are suspended polymer optical Made to order about 1/100th of the diameter of a hair, which replaces damaged photoreceptors. Surgical procedure forsubretinal injection Nanoparticles are minimally optically invasive and can be replicated over time.

Retinitis Study

To search for retinitis pigmentosa, preclinical tests were conducted on experimental models showing the same conditions as a human in Later stages of the disease: Not only with the retina completely devoid of photoreceptors, but also with profound changes in the retinal neural circuits that, although surviving the degeneration, no longer receive any signal. In these models, the visual cortex was initially completely silent, but after injection of optical polymer nanoparticles, new physiological signals were recorded: The visual cortex is revitalized, sharpness is restored and visual memories are formed. These results demonstrate that a high-resolution, biocompatible artificial retina-based approach is a winner and lay a solid foundation for the next steps aimed at conducting the first tests in humans, which are estimated to be around 2025-2026.

Results and possibilities

There are 5.5 million patients with retinitis pigmentosa worldwide. Our recent study — says Simona Francia, an IIT researcher and first author of the work — is another important step toward treating diseases such as retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration. Not only are these nanoparticles distributed over large retinal regions allowing this Gain a wide field of view, but due to its small size, it is able to guarantee the restoration of visual acuity. Polymer nanoparticles — adds Guglielmo Lanzani, director of the IIT Center in Milan — are 250 times smaller than the thickness of a hair, act like microphotovoltaic cells, converting light into an electrical signal and causing no negative interaction. After the retinal prosthesis is reduced to a suspension of nanoparticles, the implantation process of the prosthesis is reduced to simple injection less invasive. Having demonstrated, says Dr. Grazia Bertil, director of the eye clinic at IRCCS Sacro Cuore Don Calabria Hospital, that PV nanoparticles Remains effective in advanced degeneration stages From the retina opens the door to the application of this strategy to human diseases.

30 Jun 2022 (change on 30 Jun 2022 | 09:23)

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