An international team, co-ordinated by the Centre for Genomic Regulation, Barcelona, Spain, is creating a device that resuscitates eyes from deceased donors for use in biomedical research.
The device (ECaBox) will be a transparent box that mimics conditions in the living human eye, maintaining the eye’s temperature and pH levels while avoiding blood clots and removing metabolic waste and toxins.
Current technological limitations mean that eyes can only be kept at 4ºC for a period of 48 hours before irreversible degradation.
The team believe the new method can replace animal testing and will also avoid the limitations of human organoids, by keeping the eyes healthy for at least one month, allowing researchers to assess the efficacy, efficiency, and safety of new regenerative therapies and drug testing.
Vision impairment affects over 250 million people worldwide, with thirty-six million people being blind.
The project has been awarded 3.5 million euros by the European Union’s Future and Emerging Technologies Open research programme, which funds radical new technologies.