Self-assembled collagen-like-peptide implants as alternatives to human donor corneal transplantation†
Extracellular matrix proteins like collagen promote regeneration as implants in clinical studies. However, collagens are large and unwieldy proteins, making small functional peptide analogs potentially ideal substitutes. Self-assembling collagen-like-peptides conjugated with PEG-maleimide were assembled into hydrogels. When tested pre-clinically as corneal implants in mini-pigs, they promoted cell and nerve regeneration, forming neo-corneas structurally and functionally similar to natural corneas.