Project: A liquid corneal glue-filler as an alternative to transplantation in high risk patients

Acronym LIQD-CORNEA (Reference Number: JTC2018-016)
Duration 01/06/2019 - 31/12/2022
Project Topic Our overall aim is solving the severe global corneal shortage and immune rejection problem. Team members successfully pioneered corneal regeneration as an alternative to donor transplantation. Using cell-free implants made from recombinant human collagen in the first-in-human studies to stimulate the patients’ endogenous stem cells to regenerate corneal tissue, we avoided immune issues even in patients with severe cornea pathologies causing high risks of graft rejection. To scale-up for future clinical uptake, we developed analogs to RHC that are customisable and producible synthetically or recombinantly. These analogs comprise collagen-like peptides coupled to an inert polymer, PEG (CLP-PEG). Our current goal is to mitigate the need for transplantation by patching corneal ulcers or perforations with pro-regeneration CLP-PEG that can be applied like dental fillers in doctors’ offices. Here, we focus on defects caused by severe HSV-1 viral infections as our disease model. We modified CLP-PEG by incorporation of clinically used fibrin glue to create injectable fillers to patch damaged or perforated corneas. Preliminary results show consistent seal formation and biocompatibility. However, to fully address high-risk patient needs, we will incorporate the anti-viral/anti-inflammatory KR12 peptide derived from the innate defence peptide, cathelicidin LL37. We will test three KR12 delivery methods: 1) delivering via nanoparticles; 2) by engineering mesenchymal stromal/stem cells to produce peptide; 3) incorporating the peptide sequence in CLP itself. We will optimise each method and then compare safety and efficacy in vitro and in animal models. Our deliverable will be the best method that can be translated to clinical testing. Results obtain will potentially revolutionize the treatment of corneal blindness. We have assembled a transnational, multidisciplinary team that is best suited to lead the challenge to eradicate corneal blindness with the help of nanotechnology.
Website visit project website
Network EuroNanoMed III
Call Joint Transnational Call (2018)

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Universite de Montreal Coordinator Canada
2 Eustonia University of Life Sciences Partner Estonia
3 Oz Biosciences SAS Partner France
4 Vilnius University Partner Lithuania