Biomedical research grant awardee 2021

Restoring Sight with a Biomimetic Hydrogel: Innovative Approach to Treating Corneal Diseases

Dr. Falguni Pati

Associate Professor Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad

Corneal opacity, which can cause blindness and visual impairment, affects millions of people worldwide. Unfortunately, this condition is not medically reversible, and traditional corneal transplantation may not always be a feasible option due to the shortage of donor corneal tissue and the need for lifelong clinical follow-up.

But there’s good news! With advancements in regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, there are now several alternative approaches to corneal transplantation, including biomimetic hydrogels, stem cells, and gene/molecular therapy. Of these, biomimetic hydrogels have shown the greatest promise.

Our team has developed a unique biomimetic corneal hydrogel that can treat corneal scarring and keratoconus, two major causes of corneal blindness, particularly in developing countries like India. Our hydrogel is made from discarded human corneas that do not meet optical standards for clinical transplantation, making it both cost-effective and easily implementable.

With the help of the  grant from SreePVF, we’re now embarking on the clinical grade manufacturing and pre-clinical validation necessary for regulatory approval, and we’re excited to soon begin phase 0/1 clinical trials to establish the safety and efficacy of our novel and proprietary material embedded with stem cells derived from the human eye. 

We hope to make corneal blindness a thing of the past!

Publications out of this Research Project

Sahoo A, Damala M, Jaffet J, Prasad D, Basu S, Singh V. Expansion and characterization of human limbus-derived stromal/mesenchymal stem cells in xeno-free medium for therapeutic applications. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2023 Apr 15;14(1):89. doi: 10.1186/s13287-023-03299-3. PMID: 37061739; PMCID: PMC10105964. Click here to access the article.

Principal Investigators

Dr Sayan Basu

L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad

Dr Vivek Singh

L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad

Dr B Kiran Kumar

Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad

India is rapidly transforming into a dynamic hub of intellectual innovation and discovery. To support the science and technology ecosystem in the country, the Sree Padmavathi Venkateswara Foundation has created peer- reviewed funding programs that recognize exceptional researchers with the potential to achieve ground-breaking results in areas of critical national
importance. Our foundation provides these researchers with generous funding and empowering mentorship to generate knowledge and develop sustainable solutions of the highest quality, particularly in the fields of biomedical and agricultural research. We also work on projects to deploy advanced knowledge and improve the income of small and marginal farmers. We believe that by working together, we can create sustainable solutions that will benefit not only India but also the world.

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