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Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:Stevens Institute of Technology
  • Chang-Hwan Choi
  • (201) 216-5579
Award Date:09/13/2019
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 50,000
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 50,000
  • FY 2019=$50,000
Start Date:09/15/2019
End Date:08/31/2021
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.041
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:I-Corps: Artificial Cornea of Microtextured Hydrogel
Federal Award ID Number:1946450
DUNS ID:064271570
Parent DUNS ID:064271570
Program Officer:
  • Ruth Shuman
  • (703) 292-2160

Awardee Location

Awardee Cong. District:08

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Stevens Institute of Technology
Street:Castle Point on Hudson
Cong. District:08

Abstract at Time of Award

The broader impact/commercial potential of this I-Corps project is to lower the risk of infection and inflammation post-operation in the application of artificial cornea by obtaining full proliferation of corneal epithelial cells and enhancing the corneal fibroblast adhesion, to achieve a faster recovery and lower cost overall. As stated by World Health Organization, over 10 million people suffer from corneal blindness globally; only 1/50 of the patients obtained corneal transplants each year worldwide due to lack of donors' tissue. Current average cost for an artificial cornea itself is from $2K to $5K. Thus, a significant marker exists for Keratoprosthesis (KPro). Aging populations coupled with increasing incidence of eye diseases are expected to be the prime factors driving the growth of the global KPro market. However, severe complications, such as infection and inflammation can occur when using existing KPro methods. The novel artificial cornea of microtextured pHEMA (poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) hydrogel will potentially save millions of people from corneal blindness; and will provide comfortable wearing experience for patients with less tissue rejection risk after the surgery due to the similar mechanical properties of the KPro to human soft tissues. This I-Corps project further develops a novel artificial cornea made of microtextured pHEMA (poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) hydrogel. Studies have shown that well-regulated micropore or microline patterns, depending on cell types, are effective in enhancing cell proliferation and improving cell adhesion, mainly due to the increased contact area between the cells and surfaces. pHEMA hydrogel, the most commonly-used biomaterial in ophthalmology, has similar mechanical properties to human tissues and provides good biocompatibility to the human body as implants. The micropore textures on pHEMA hydrogel will allow corneal epithelium to proliferate well and fast for forming a layer of protection to prevent the eyes from bacterial infection and inflammation; meanwhile the microline textures will allow fast and strong adhesion of keratocytes (corneal fibroblasts) to hydrogel, leading to the stable formation of stroma underneath the artificial cornea for speedy recovery after the implant. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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