Thanks to one Shenzhen factory, the future is bright for millions of people across the world without corneas.
Research work has managed to industrialize the production of Acornea, an artificial cornea, implantation of which has a success rate of almost 95 percent, about the same as using a donated human cornea.
The Acornea, developed mainly by China Regenerative Medicine International Ltd. (CRMI), was put into production at the company’s Shenzhen plant recently and is expected to help millions of people suffering from corneal blindness to see again, according to Xinhua.
Shenzhen Acornea Engineering Co. in Buji, Longgang District, is a wholly funded enterprise of CRMI. The product, the first of its type in the world, is a result of decades of research by a medical team at the Tissue Engineering R&D Center with the Fourth Military Medical University (FMMU) and CRMI.
“The Acornea has complete independent intellectual property rights and has been industrialized, which is a significant step for China in the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. It was accredited with qualification by the China Food and Drug Administration in late April,” CRMI said at a news conference Saturday.
“It can quickly integrate with the surrounding tissue, and promote its own cells to be rebuilt. The transplanted cornea will gradually become transparent, thus, recovering the patient’s vision,” said Jin Yan, head of the Tissue Engineering R&D Center with FMMU.
Existing treatment for corneal blindness includes transplants and artificial corneas. Some materials, such as glass and silica gel, are often rejected by the body.
Beijing Tongren Hospital and Wuhan Union Hospital, among others, have conducted clinical trials of Acornea since 2010, recording a success rate of 94.44 percent.
Shenzhen has the highest rate of cornea donation in China. The first cornea was donated 16 years ago by Xiang Chunmei, a teacher with Shenzhen University. Since then, more than 960 people have donated corneas to help others regain their sight.
According to the World Health Organization, there are about 4 million blind people in China.