Hyderabad, 01st January 2024: The L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI), Hyderabad has been granted a patent for a novel cell therapy that can be used to repair damaged corneas from a variety of corneal diseases. The patented therapy uses a unique composition of stem cells derived from the eye’s surface and two clotting factors, layered together. This patent has been granted by the Patent Office, Government of India, for a period of 20 years in accordance with the provisions of the Patents Act, 1970.
The patent was granted to two inventors from LVPEI, Drs Sayan Basu and Vivek Singh. Dr Basu is a corneal surgeon and a clinician-scientist at LVPEI. He is the Prof. D Balasubramanian Chair of Eye Research at the Brien Holden Eye Research Centre (BHERC); and the Director of the Centre for Ocular Regeneration (CORE) at LVPEI. Dr Vivek Singh is a scientist at the Sudhakar and Sreekanth Ravi Stem Cell Biology Laboratory and Centre for Ocular Regeneration (CORE), LVPEI.
Corneal scarring happens when the cornea (the transparent, outer layer of the eye) is damaged and turns opaque due to infection or accidents. Corneal blindness is a major cause of blindness and vision impairment, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Most forms of corneal blindness currently require corneal transplants, which are complex and require lifelong management. This patented composition has the potential to offer a viable alternative to transplants that uses either the person’s own, or donor corneal stem cells to repopulate the corneal surface with healthy, clear cells.
‘The potential impact of this patent extends beyond just scientific research to meet the needs of the broader public,’ says Dr Sayan Basu. ‘If the clinical trials are successful, this cell-based therapy could revolutionize the treatment of various corneal pathologies.’
Another example of the therapy’s potential impact is in treating Keratoconus, a chronic condition where the cornea thins out and changes shape, distorting vision. By deploying this patented therapy, there is potential to replenish corneal collagen, the connective protein that holds the shape of the cornea. Replenished collagen as a result of this technique can result in a strengthened cornea, offering a potential treatment to keratoconus.
‘This patent is testament to the world-class research that is rooted in India, and in solving India’s—and the world’s—burden due to corneal disease. This therapy has the potential to improve lives and I hope to see this become a reality soon,’ says Dr Vivek Singh.
Currently, under clinical trials, this unique ‘cell composition’ based therapy marks a significant milestone in the field of ophthalmology and cell-based therapy.
- Patent no.: 464537
- The patent covers a specific combination of a set of stem cells unique to the cornea (stromal and epithelial stem cells)
- These stem cells are layered and interlaced with the clotting proteins, thrombin and fibrinogen.
- Stromal and epithelial stem cells are unipotent stem cells located on the rim of the cornea (on edge of the ‘black’ part of the eye). They can differentiate into a variety of corneal cells, repairing and remodelling the cornea.