Tissue Clamp for Repeated Opening and Closure of Incisions/Wounds

Medical clamps currently available are not efficient nor are they sufficiently precise in closure and alignment of the edges of an incision or wound. Many available designs are difficult to use and handle, especially in situations where repeated opening and closure of an incision or wound is required. The functional short-comings of existing clamp designs may result in surgical complications, such as excess loss of fluids and pressure and hemostasis during some procedures.

Gene Therapy for Treatment of CRX-Autosomal Dominant Retinopathies

Mutations in the cone rod homeobox (CRX) transcription factor lead to distinct retinopathy phenotypes, including early-onset vision impairment in dominant Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA). Adeno-Associated virus (AAV) vector-mediated delivery of a CRX cDNA under the control of a CRX promoter region partially restored photoreceptor phenotype and expression of phototransduction genes in an in vitro model of CRX-LCA.

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Derived from Patients with CEP290-associated Ciliopathies and Unaffected Family Members

Approximately one-third of non-syndromic retinal dystrophies involve a defect in a ciliary protein. Non-syndromic retinal ciliopathies include retinitis pigmentosa, cone dystrophy, cone-rod dystrophy, macular dystrophy, and Leber-congenital amaurosis (LCA). Many CEP290-LCA patients also exhibit auditory and olfactory defects. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) cells were derived from patients with LCA and unaffected relatives. 
The National Eye Institute (NEI) seeks research collaborations and/or licensees for the use of these iPS cells.

Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stem Cell (BMSC)-Derived Exosomes for the Treatment of Glaucoma

Glaucoma is one of the world’s leading causes of irreversible blindness. There is no cure and vision lost from glaucoma cannot be restored. Glaucoma is associated with fluid build-up in the eye resulting in an increased intraocular pressure (IOP). The pressure may cause damage to the optic nerve and lead to progressive degeneration of retinal ganglion cells (RGC) and vision loss. Currently, available treatments for glaucoma delay progression by reducing IOP, but no therapies exist to directly protect RGC from degradation and loss. 

Methods and Compositions for Treating Genetically Linked Diseases of the Eye

X-linked retinoschisis (XLRS) is an inherited, monogenetic ocular disease caused by mutations in the retinoschisin (RS1) gene, resulting in the development of cystic cavities throughout the retina and leading to juvenile macular degeneration. Approximately 1:15,000 males in the US are affected, classifying the condition as an orphan indication. 

3D Vascularized Human Ocular Tissue for Cell Therapy and Drug Discovery

Degeneration of retinal tissues occurs in many ocular disorders resulting in the loss of vision. Dysfunction and/or loss of Retinal Pigment Epithelium Cells (RPE) and disruption of the associated blood retinal barrier (BRB) tissue structures are linked with many ocular diseases and conditions including: age-related macular degeneration (AMD), Best disease, and retinitis pigmentosa. Engineered tissue structures that are able to replicate the function of lost BRB structures may restore lost vision and provide insight into new treatments and mechanisms of the underlying conditions. 

Devices for Improved Tissue Cryopreservation and Recovery

Problem: Cryopreservation is a process where living biological materials like cells, tissues, and cell therapies (which are susceptible to damage caused by unregulated chemical kinetics) are preserved by cooling to very low temperatures in the presence of specific cryopreservation media that protects the biological material from damage. In order to be used, the biological material ideally should be thawed in a controlled manner that minimizes damage and desirably brings the material back to a viable state.

Sensitive and Economic RNA Virus Detection Using a Novel RNA Preparation Method

DNA or RNA-based diagnostic tests for infectious diseases are critical in modern medicine. The current gold standard for COVID-19 detection is testing SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA by quantitative reverse transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-qPCR). This method involves patient sample collection with a nasopharyngeal swab, storage of the swab in a universal transport medium during transport to testing site, RNA extraction, and analysis of the extracted RNA sample.

Machine Learning and/or Neural Networks to Validate Stem Cells and Their Derivatives for Use in Cell Therapy, Drug Delivery, and Diagnostics

Many biological and clinical procedures require functional validation of a desired cell type. Current techniques to validate rely on various assays and methods, such as staining with dyes, antibodies, and nucleic acid probes, to assess stem cell health, death, proliferation, and functionality. These techniques potentially destroy stem cells and risk contaminating cells and cultures by exposing them to the environment; they are low-throughput and difficult to scale-up.