Wollongong Researchers Part of BIENCO Global Corneal Blind Consortium | Illawarra Mercury


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Researchers at the University of Wollongong are part of a “first global consortium to fight against corneal blindness”. They have teamed up with other Australian leaders in corneal bioengineering to form BIENCO, a consortium that will develop bioengineered eye tissue to treat corneal blindness. The group will take on the global challenge of corneal blindness, the third leading cause of blindness in the world. BIENCO will develop bespoke superior corneas that are cost effective and can address the world’s severe blindness and cornea shortage. It will also provide early treatment to prevent corneal blindness and speed recovery after laser eye surgery. Read More: ‘Personal Liability’ Won’t Protect Us This Christmas: UOW Expert ‘It Will Dramatically Improve The Profitability And Sustainability Of Corneal Transplants In Australia And Increase Global Access To Cornea Transplant Surgery Which restores vision, ”said UOW Professor Gordon Wallace. . Project leader Professor Gerard Sutton said corneal disease and blindness affected more than six million people around the world. “Corneal transplantation currently relies on corneal tissue from a deceased human donor,” said Professor Sutton. “However, an acute global shortage of donor corneal tissue continues to prevent access to treatment.” BIENCO, started by NSW Minister of Health and Medical Research Brad Hazzard, has received a grant from the Australian government through the Medical Research Future Fund 2021 Frontier Health and Medical Research Initiative. Mr. Hazzard said quality medical research plays a vital role in our healthcare system. “BIENCO will help millions of patients here and around the world access treatment that restores vision and improves their quality of life,” said Hazzard. BIENCO will design a total cornea as well as partial thickness grafts for transplantation, thus reducing the amount of donor tissue required. Globally, donor corneas are only available for 1 in 70 patients, with 53% of the world’s population unable to access this tissue. Read more: “Protect the Vulnerable, Dom”: A Wollongong Scientist’s Appeal to Prime Minister BIENCO is a collaboration between the University of Sydney, the University of Wollongong, the University of Melbourne, the Queensland University of Technology, the Center for Eye Research Australia, and the NSW Organ and Service for Tissue Donation. “The BIENCO team is incredibly proud of each of our original consortium organizations and has developed this new collaborative identity recognizing that we are aiming for a common goal that would not be possible to achieve simply by the sum of our parts,” said the governance of the project. Manager and General Manager of the New South Wales Organ and Tissue Donation Department, Danielle Fisher. The Illawarra Mercury Newsroom is funded by our readers. You can sign up to support our journalism here. Subscribe below to receive topical emails …



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