First-in-class hydrogel patch to treat retinal detachment

Xavier Valldeperas


    Xavier Valldeperas


    Fundació Institut d’Investigació en Ciències de la Salut Germans Trias i Pujol (IGTP), Badalona, Spain


    Retinal detachment can cause permanent blindness if left untreated. RetiPatch, an innovative retinal patch based on a thermosensitive hydrogel, offers a promising solution. It will be injected into the vitreous cavity in a liquid state at the end of vitrectomy, producing a permanent seal of the retinal holes.

    Among the polymeric materials available to form hydrogels, poly (isopropylacrylamide) (pNIPAAM) polymers are proposed as a first candidate.

    When surgically treating retinal detachment, the vitreous humor is removed, and has no capacity to regenerate. Consequently, the vitreous chamber must be left filled with a substitute material to prevent hypotension eye collapse, and also to ensure retinal adherence after laser retinopexy. The main agents used present complications: ocular hypertension, cataract and, in the case of silicone oil, emulsification, anterior chamber migration and retinal/optic nerve toxicity, together with the need for a second surgery. In this context, novel procedures for the retinal detachment surgical procedure are a current need.

    The selection of a thermosensitive hydrogel is considered an innovative solution that will change clinical practice in the near future. This breakthrough technology will change the current paradigm of the treatment for retinal detachment, which has remained the same for the last 40 years.

    The expected technology readiness level to arrive by the end of CaixaResearch Validate program, although difficult to define at the current stage of the project, is envisaged to be TLR5, in which RetiPatch will have been validated in a real space environment (in pig eyes).