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Surgical device for corneal transplantation

Country of Origin: Germany
Reference Number: TODE20181212002
Publication Date: 18 December 2018

Summary

A German university has developed a surgical device for corneal transplantations. This operation procedure makes the transplantation more rapid and safer. The university offers a license agreement as well as a technical cooperation agreement to interested companies from the medical sector.

Description

Corneal transplantation is the most frequently performed and most successful organ transplantation in medicine. Each layer of the cornea can develop its own disease. For example, the inner layer of the cornea (endothelium) can become cloudy after cataract surgery or in the case of Fuchs' corneal endothelial dystrophy. The pathological inner layer – consisting of the Descemet membrane and endothelium – is replaced within an operation called DMEK (Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty). During the process the layer is introduced into the front chamber of the patient’s eye in a coiled status by means of a so-called DMEK-shooter. A problem is that the Descemet membrane has the tendency to automatically wind itself up to form a single-axis winding. The membrane must therefore be unwound manually by the surgeon after insertion into the front chamber of the eye, partly with the aid of further instruments and/or by air bubble or pressure on the cornea. This surgical technique is time-consuming, can damage the graft and is stressful for the eye.

Ophthalmologists at a German university hospital have developed a DMEK-shooter that significantly makes the operation easier by unrolling the membrane in the eye faster, safer and more standardised way during the process of implantation. Tubes used so far have a cylindrical form with a round profile (see figure). The shooter invented is characterised by an oval profile and a novel shape of the inner architecture. This shape already allows uncoiling of the Descemet Membrane during release from the shooter. Thereby, the number of subsequent surgical steps and the likelihood of complications are reduced and consequently the success rate of this surgical method is increased.

The university offers a licensce agreement to companies offering surgical instruments for ophthalmology. The licensee is responsible for product development. For the further development of the invention a technical cooperation agreement is offered. The inventors would be involved in the development work towards an optimal prototype/product in terms of shape and surface properties.
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Advantages and Innovations

The invention described here improves the current corneal transplantation process by making the operation more rapid, safer more standardized and simpler:
• better and faster uncoiling of the transplanted Descemet membrane
• reduced risk of complications
• increased success rate
• reduced duration of surgery

Stage Of Development

Prototype available for demonstration

Stage Of Development Comment

A transparent and Luer-Lock compatible prototype has been produced by 3D-printing and successfully tested with human Descemet´s membranes.

Requested partner

The university offers a licensce agreement to companies offering surgical instruments for ophthalmology. The licensee is responsible for product development. Up to now, one or more prototypes have been produced in 3D printing. Further development work towards a final prototype (i.e. optimization of the prototype) still needs to be carried out here with regard to the design and the manufacturing process. The latter means that such an eye shooter is then produced by injection moulding.

For the further development of the invention a technical cooperation agreement is offered. The inventors would be involved in the development work towards an optimal prototype/product in terms of shape and surface properties. Here, the potential licensee needs feedback from practice, which means that the inventors would probably test the prototypes at the clinic (e.g. on corneal transplants) and of course discuss the results with the licensee. Furthermore, human studies are required for approval (task of the licensee); here it is conceivable that the inventors (which are eye surgeons) are involved in the patient studies at the eye clinic.

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