Regenerative approaches as alternatives to donor allografting for restoration of corneal function

M. Griffith, Naresh Polisetti, Lucia Kuffova, Juanna Gallar, John Vincent Forrester, Geeta K. Vemuganti, Thomas Armin Fluchsluger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


A range of alternatives to human donor tissue for corneal transplantation are being developed to address the shortfall of good quality tissues as well as the clinical conditions for which allografting is contraindicated. Classical keratoprostheses, commonly referred to as artificial corneas, are being used clinically to replace minimal cornealfunction. However, they are used only as last resorts, as they are associated with significant complications, such as extrusion/rejection, glaucoma, and retinal detachment. The past few years have seen significant developments in technologies designed to replace part or the full thickness of damaged or diseased corneas with materials that encourage regeneration to different extents. This review describes selected examples of these corneal substitutes, which range from cell-based regenerative strategies to keratoprostheses with regenerative capabilities via tissue-engineered scaffolds pre-seeded with stem cells. It is unlikely that one corneal substitute will be best for all indications, but taken together, the various approaches may soon be able to supplement the supply of human donor corneas for transplantation or allow restoration of diseased or damaged corneas that cannot be treated by currently available techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-183
Number of pages14
JournalThe Ocular Surface
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012

Bibliographical note

Financial support for clinical research reported on biosynthetic corneas for regenerative application are from research grants from the Swedish Research Council, County Council of Östergötland, Sweden and the Canadian Stem Cell Network. Other research data generated from authors were supported by research grants from their own countries, including NSERC Canada (MG) and grant SAF2011-22500 from the Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (JG).

A patent application related to the biomaterials formulation described in this study has been filed and assigned to the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) and is currently licensed to Eyegenix, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Cellular Bioengineering. None of the authors have current affiliations or activities related to Eyegenix/Cellular Bioengineering nor the product discussed in this article.


  • biomaterial scaffolds
  • corneal transplantation
  • keratoprostheses
  • stem cells
  • regeneration


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