Pending approval by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, a clinical trial application by the Acro Biomedical Co to transplant a porcine cornea into a human might prove to be a blessing for patients waiting for corneal transplants, the company said yesterday.
Corneal transplants are difficult to perform and often result in transplant rejection, subjecting patients having undergone transplant surgery to take anti-rejection agents on a regular basis, it said.
The company noted that a pig’s eye and a human eye are similar in size, while the tissue structure of the cornea is identical, Acro chief executive Hsieh Dar-jen (謝達仁) said.
After extracting a porcine cornea using supercritical carbon dioxide (SCCO2) technology, the cornea is lysed of cell debris, including the nuclei, while the stromal structures and appropriate mechanical properties are retained, Hsieh said.
The corneas have been tested on rabbits and Chihuahuas without side effects, Hsieh said, adding that the company was in the process of applying for clinical trials on human test subjects.
If approved, the company is looking to conduct 20 clinical trials starting next year, Hsieh said, adding that if the clinical trials achieve 100 percent success, porcine cornea extracted with SCCO2 technology would officially become a transplantable organ by 2020.
Acro has also authorized another biomedical company based in Australia, which is to launch simultaneous clinical trials, he said.
The cornea’s primary function is to bend light and if it is damaged, it can cause blurriness or photophobia, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital doctor Lee Yin-yang (李尹暘) said.
If the cornea becomes severely scarred, a transplant is required to regain eyesight, Lee said.
However, patients often have to wait one to two years for a transplant, said Lee, citing WHO statistics that showed an annual increase of 600,000 individuals requiring corneal transplants, while cornea donations number only 100,000.
If the trials are a success, it would greatly benefit patients waiting for transplants, Lee said.
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,