“A liquid artificial retina has great potential to ensure a wide field of vision and a high resolution vision,” observed Fabio Benfenati, director of the Center for Synaptic Neuroscience and Technology of theItalian Institute of Technologies (Iit) of Genoa, who coordinated the research. The Center for Nano Science and Technology of the IIT in Milan, coordinated by Guglielmo Lanzani, also collaborated with the Eye Clinic of the IRCCS Sacro Cuore Don Calabria Hospital in Negrar (Verona), directed by Grazia Pertile.
Compared to current techniques, the liquid artificial retina has proven to be able to restore the capabilities of the neurons of the retina in a less invasive and more efficient way and marks the evolution of that developed in 2017 by the same research group. This time the stimulation of the nanoparticles with light activates the still active retinal neurons, imitating the task that in a healthy eye is performed by the retinal cells called photoreceptor.
Thanks to these characteristics the technique promises shorter and less traumatic interventions: micro-injections release the nanoparticles directly under the retina, where they become trapped taking the place of the damaged cells. The experimental results, which have collaborated with the San Martino hospital in Genoa and the National Research Council (Cnr) Bologna, show that the technique promises to become an alternative to the methods used so far to restore the capacity of the neurons of the retina. «In this work we have applied nanotechnology to medicine“Said Guglielmo Lanzani, director of the Center for Nano Science and Technology of the IIT in Milan. “We manufactured in the laboratory – he added – polymeric nanoparticles similar to balls of yarn that act like tiny photovoltaic cells, based on carbon and hydrogen, fundamental components of the biochemistry of life. Nanoparticles form small aggregates of a size comparable to that of cells and act in fact as artificial photoreceptors “.