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Title: Development of biocompatible polymers for ocular applications
Author: Treharne, Andrew J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2730 9032
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2012
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Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the largest cause of blindness for those over 65 in the developed world. There is currently no treatment for the retinal cellular loss associated with the disease. One potential therapy is to implant retinal stem cells into the eye using a biodegradable polymer scaffold. Blends of the biodegradable polymers, poly(L-lactic acid) (PLLA) and poly(D,L-lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) have been formulated into microspheres. The influence of changing processing parameters on the size and morphology of the microspheres has been studied. A human retinal pigment epithelial (APRE-19) cell line was shown to adhere, survive and proliferate on the surface of the microspheres in vitro. Assays have demonstrated that the nature of the blend influenced cell behaviour. Transplantation of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells on a supportive matrix has also been investigated as a therapy for AMD. In view of AMD related pathology of the native RPE support, Bruch’s membrane (BM), transplanted RPE cells require a scaffold to reside on. Copolymers based on methyl methacrylate (MMA) and poly(ethylene glycol) methacrylate (PEGM) have been synthesised and chemically modified at the PEG terminus. These polymers were subsequently manufactured into a fibrous scaffold using an electrospinning technique and investigated as an artificial BM. RPE cells were shown to attach and proliferate successfully on the surface of the fibrous scaffold in vitro. Cell adhesion was significantly enhanced on scaffolds with the PEG chain terminus modification. Significantly less apoptotic cell death was also observed on these surfaces. The diffusion properties of these artificial membranes have also been investigated. In addition, the novel gelation of the produced copolymers under certain conditions has been studied
Supervisor: Grossel, Martin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QD Chemistry ; RE Ophthalmology