A multidisciplinary team of Stanford University inventors have developed a unique interpenetrating double network hydrogel with surfaces that can be chemically modified to allow binding of biomolecules. The material has high mechanical strength in the context of high water content. For medical applications, these features make the hydrogel easy to implant, durable, and permeable to oxygen and nutrients.
The inventors have fabricated a full-thickness artificial cornea (keratoprosthesis) using this material. The technology overcomes the limitations of many other devices which have structural weaknesses due to dissimilar material properties. In addition, collagen can be covalently linked to the surface of the artificial cornea to promote full integration into the eye. In addition to corneal transplantation, the invention has the potential to revolutionize the refractive surgical industry by reversibly mimicking the effects of either LASIK (Laser In Situ Keratomileusis) or PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) without the need for tissue ablation.Stage of Research
The inventors have shown that these hydrogels are biocompatible in an animal model.Ongoing Research
Continuing research entails further characterization of double network properties and the cellular response to them both in vitro
and in vivo