Chan Zhao, MD |Peking Union Medical College Hospital; Youxin Chen, MD; Chaoran Xia, Phd; Chuan Li, PhD
Competition Sponsor: Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences
Awardee Year: 2022
Sub-retinal injection is preferred over intravitreal injection for administration of retinal gene- and cell therapy in patients with retinal degenerative diseases (RDD), such as non-neovascular age-related macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa and Leber’s congenital amaurosis. There are two approaches for sub-retinal drug delivery, one involves pars plana vitrectomy followed by injection of the agent through a cannula (the trans-vitreal approach) and the other access the sub-retinal space through the sclera and the choroid (the trans-choroidal approach). While the trans-pars plana approach is currently the most commonly used, this approach relies on expensive vitrectomy equipments and requires a high level of surgical expertise; it may also induce complications associated with vitrectomy, such as retinal detachment, cataract, etc. The trans-choroidal approach is less invasive and requires no advanced micro-surgical equipment, and is recently adopted by some pharmaceutical companies addressing sub-retinal delivery of gene therapies. These systems, however, requires a sclerotomy performed on the target eye and suture of the scleral incision after drug delivery. Our group have invented, designed, prototyped, and tested in vivo a novel resistance-sensing mechanical suprachoroidal space (SCS) injector. We are currently developping a minimally invasive trans-choroidal subretinal cannulation system based on the SCS injector, which requrires no sclerotomy and suture, and would be far less-invasive than the current approaches. Our novel resistance sensing mechanical principle of injection has a wide range of applications including epidural anaesthesia, trans-parietal-pleura intercostal nerve block during thoracic surgery, etc.
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