A transparent artificial cornea derived from biological material is the ultimate goal of corneal research. Attempts at artificial corneal constructs produced from synthetic polymers have proved unsuccessful due to lack of biocompatibility and ability to integrate into the tissue. We have designed a corneal model derived from collagenous biological materials that has several advantages: it has low antigenicity and therefore small chance of eliciting an immune reaction, it can be broken down by the body’s own cells and gradually replaced over time by natural materials, and it may contain signaling information for native cells, thereby inducing normal phenotype and behavior. In addition, a transparent corneal model has the potential to be used for testing of novel ophthalmic drugs or gene therapy approaches, eliminating the need for animal testing. We have used an optical coherence microscope (OCM) to evaluate both the structure of our tissue constructs over time in culture and the optical properties of the tissue itself. This imaging technique promises to be an important diagnostic tool in our efforts to understand the influence of mechanical forces, cell phenotype, and soluble factors on the transparency of corneal tissue. From the 26th Annual International Conference of the IEEE-Engineering-in-Medicine-and-Biology-Society [September 01-05, 2004, San Francisco, CA] IEEE Engn Med & Biol Soc, Whitaker Fdn, Cyberonics, NIH, NIBIB, NIDOCD, NINDS ISBN: 0-7803-8439-3
© 2004 Elizabeth J.; Haskell, Richard C.; Petersen, Daniel C. Orwin
This paper first appeared as E. J. Orwin, S. Lee, C. Raub, T. Icenogle, M. Arman, A. Cho, R. Lovec, A. Malone, R. C. Haskell, B. M. Hoeling, D. C. Petersen, "Optical coherence microscopy for the evaluation of a tissue-engineered artificial cornea," Proceedings of the 26th Annual International Conference of the Ieee Engineering In Medicine and Biology Society, Vols 1-7, 26, (2004):1218-1221, and may be found on the publisher's website at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=1403388&isnumber=30462.