Macular degeneration affects millions and with few cures or treatments for this eye disease, researchers are seeking innovative ways of treatment. Rsearchers at Boston College and the University of Massachusetts Medical School are exploring a nanotech retinal implant for macular degeneration.
The nanotech retinal implant will be placed in the eye to take the place of functioning rods and cones in the retina. According to Michael Naughton of Boston College “The implant is designed to reconnect to the surviving cell circuitry and provide the electronic stimulus formerly provided by rods and cones.”
Macular degeneration affects millions in North America and the researchers are hoping that nanotechnology based retinal implants will provide more options for both wet macular degeneration and dry macular degeneration patients. Current treatments for macular degeneration involves using the drug Lucentis for wet macular degeneration and using nutritional supplements for dry macular degeneration.
Currently, there are major pressures at finding a treatment for dry macular degeneration seeing how this accounts for 90 percent of the diagnosed cases of macular degeneration.
The nanotech retinal implants for macular degeneration is seen to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Researchers will require approximately $42 million to pay for a nanotech retinal implant prototype and approximately 18 months of human trials.
Research and development in retinal implants is nothing new. Other firms are focusing on retinal implants such as Neurotech Pharmaceuticals who has developed an intraocular implant made of genetically modified human cells.
As technology advances, nanotechnology will progress. Retinal implants may soon be a reality as researchers and investment in macular degeneration research grows.