The artificial cornea, designed by the Faculty of Histology at Granada University, was transplanted on Jose Luis, a 51 year old man suffering from corneal fibrosis.
This painful and serious condition stopped him from seeing objects or colours. No cure has been found for this disease.
Specialists from the San Cecilio and Virgen de las Nieves hospitals say the implant contains two different human cells and a bio-material based upon nano-technology.
Nine surgeons, led by ophthalmologists Dr Miguel Gonzalez Andrades and Dr Santiago Medialdea operated on Jose Luis last week. The patient said he was already experiencing relief from pain only 48 hours after the procedure.
More clinical trials
20 other patients suffering from serious corneal ulcers or opaque cornea are on the list for clinical trials for artificial implants.
Five of them will have an artificial cornea and the rest will have a transplant of an amniotic membrane, which is a more conventional method of treating serious corneal ulcers.
Dr Gonzalez Andrades says it is”‘very unlikely” they will be able to cure blindness, but that the technique helps alleviate pain and irritation and improves sight to a certain extent.
“A scientific hit”
The first step is to monitor whether the procedure is in fact safe, Dr Gonzalez Andrades explains. Dr Santiago Medialdea says the technique, in which six public hospitals in Andalucía are taking part, is “a scientific hit”.
Andalucia’s regional health authority has pledged to invest €66 million in scientific research and development this year.