TAP, UCL Receive Additional Funding to Take Biomimetic Cornea into Human Safety Study
30 April 2012
TAP Biosystems has been awarded additional funding from the U.K.’s Technology Strategy Board to support further development of a biomimetic cornea and progress the product into preclinical development and a first-in-man safety trial in two patients.
The firm will continue its ongoing partnership with a team at the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London (UCL) to develop a RAFT (real architecture for 3-D tissue) production technology for generating clinical-grade tissues. Developed by TAP in collaboration with tissue engineering academics, RAFT is designed to enable the creation of complex 3-D cell cultures from collagen, consistently and reproducibly, in a simple-to-use format.
Head of the UCL team, Julie Daniels, M.D., has been collaborating
with TAP since 2008. Her work has already demonstrated that RAFT tissues
seeded with epithelial stem cells can generate corneal tissue that
closely mimics the cells’ in vivo environment and supports stem cell
growth, offering potential benefits for ocular surface transplant technology.
“There is a genuine clinical problem with some biomaterials used to
culture and transplant cells," Dr. Daniels remarks. “The RAFT process
creates a natural collagen scaffold that can be engineered to replicate
features of the stem cell niche and is a more realistic environment to
support the stem cell population. The additional funding we have
received from the Technology Strategy Board is a great vote of
confidence in the potential of RAFT to deliver a corneal tissue
equivalent, which we believe will be more effective in treating patients
with blinding corneal surface damage.”
Published 26th April 2012 in Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News