What went right: a breakthrough for blind people, plus more positive news

Blind people can have hope with a medical breakthrough

Scientists have restored vision in 20 people using a bioengineered cornea from pig skin. This breakthrough is a great opportunity for the estimated 12.7 millions people who are blind because of their corneas being damaged, or diseased. 

To see again, corneal disease patients have needed a transplant from a human donor. Only one in 70 patients receives one.

That could soon change after scientists at Linköping University (LiU) and LinkoCare research institute in Sweden developed an alternative from pig skin, a byproduct of the meat industry. 

“The results show that it is possible to develop a biomaterial that meets all the criteria for being used as human implants, which can be mass produced and stored up to two years and thereby reach even more people,” said LiU Prof Neil Lagali, a lead researcher. 

Before the implant can become available in healthcare, it must be tested in a larger setting and approved by regulatory authorities. The study results were published in Nature. 

Image: Thor Balkhed