Pitt researchers have developed an injectable gel that aims to preserve vision by providing immediate support, protection, and therapy at the point-of-injury for the 2.5 million Americans who suffer ocular injuries each year. The standard treatment for ocular trauma — sequestering the injury with a Styrofoam cup — fails to address critical needs in the most important moments following injury. For this reason, ocular trauma has become the leading cause of monocular blindness. The new injectable gel that is easy to administer in any prehospital setting. It has the potential to minimize the complexity of the injury, reducing treatment costs from $55,000 to $800. In addition to the $2.4 billion trauma market, it could also be applied to aesthetics and reconstruction, leading to significantly more value after initial IDE approval and clinical testing.
The invention is a unique injectable thermoresponsive gel which transitions from a liquid to a stable solid upon dermal application in under 5 seconds. This material is non-degradable, conforms to the volume of the damaged tissue, and provides immediate treatment via absorbed therapeutic drugs. It is protective yet easily removed and requires no specialized equipment or training. These key features showcase the unique value that this technology can deliver to first responders, ophthalmologists, and other specialists.
- Point-of-injury administration for immediate stabilization and therapy
- Reduce injury complexity and surgical costs, improve outcomes for patients
- Inexpensive and simple manufacturing with huge follow-on market opportunities
- Stabilization, support, and protection for acute ocular and periorbital injuries resulting from high-velocity impacts
- Minimize the risks of infection, inflammation, and scarring through the continual release of therapeutic drugs
- Reconstructive and aesthetic augmentation for a variety of periocular and facial pathologies
Preparation of a provisional patent application is in progress.
Stage of Development
Preclinical safety evaluation and efficacy testing in large animal ocular trauma models.
- 2018 Dr. Michael Washington and Valerie Quickel, Scientific and Entrepreneurial leads took 2nd place and $15,000 in the Randall Family Big Idea Competition
- 2017 Chancellor’s Innovating Fund plus Regional Partner match (Center for Military Medical Research), $70k total
- 2017 First Gear Program, $3k towards commercialization + business advising