2016 funding round - Feasibility Study

Dr Laura Domigan
University of Auckland
New biomaterials from lens proteins for corneal tissue engineering
18 months

Lay summary

Corneal replacement is becoming increasingly common as the age of the population increases and there is an insufficient supply of donor corneas. In New Zealand, >250 corneal transplants are performed per annum. There is a growing need for new technologies to generate corneal analogs. Tissue engineering involves the combination of a biomaterial scaffold with cells to create an implant that supports host tissue regeneration. Biomaterials from natural polymers (such as proteins) offer advantages such as increased biocompatibility and often maintenance of the unique properties of the native protein. This project is to manufacture human corneal replacements from proteins derived from fish eye lenses. The lenses are currently a low value by-product of the New Zealand fishing industry and we propose to recycle the proteins from them, and use them as high value biomaterials.

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