Cell replacement therapy is an important goal for investigators aiming to restore neural function to those suffering from neurodegenerative disease.
Sub-retinal implantation of foreign materials is becoming an increasingly common feature of novel therapies for retinal dysfunction. The ultimate compatibility of implants depends not only on their in vitro chemical compatibility, but also on how well the mechanical properties of the material match those of the native tissue.
The development of effective tissue engineering materials requires careful consideration of several properties beyond biocompatibility, including permeability and mechanical stiffness.
Widely used approaches for retinal disease modeling and in vitro therapeutic testing can be augmented by using tissue-engineered scaffolds with a precise 3-dimensional structure. However, the materials currently used for these scaffolds are poorly matched to the biochemical and mechanical properties of the in vivo retina.