Discovery Magazine

Animal Studies to Investigate Stent Technology for Treating Retinal Detachment

This research is intended to support the activities necessary to execute a proof of concept animal study for treating retinal detachment. The study is designed to demonstrate proof of concept that stent implantation inside an eye, in direct contact with retinal tissue, does not adversely affect that tissue, minimizes disturbance to vision and maintains position with the orbit of the eye.

While current methods for treating retinal detachment may yield acceptable results, several associated issues demonstrate an unmet clinical need for a better method. These include multiple surgical interventions to manage reattachment, the necessity to sometimes combine several treatment methods to achieve an acceptable outcome and/or the possibility that the treatment period may take several months to produce therapeutic effect. In the case of a condition known as complex retinal detachment (CRD), there appear to be no effective methods of treatment. CRD will likely be the initial target for this device, which uses a novel approach of stent implantation.

This unique stent implantation-based technology will address these unmet clinical needs by providing the retinal surgeon with a device that will be simple to place, minimize distortion of the patient’s vision and provide a singular, superior, effective treatment for managing detached retina and possibly preventing retinal tears from progressing into detachments. When healing is complete, the stent can be retrieved and removed. In some cases the stent may be left in permanently. The initial device will be fabricated using Nitinol shape memory technology, with future design iterations utilizing shape-memory polymers and biodegradable materials. An additional benefit of stent implantation is that it will provide the ability to selectively deliver drugs and agents to targeted areas within the eye.