A futuristic fabric originally developed for use in the aviation and energy industries could find use in treating advanced glaucoma, researchers said Tuesday, Aug. 10.
For almost a decade, Khalid Lafdi at the University of Dayton Research Institute has been developing a carbon-based nanotechnology nicknamed “fuzzy fiber” for its furry texture.
Lafdi developed the material for use in such things as aircraft coatings and wind turbines. But after teaming up with UD grad Ed Timm, the owner of Mobius Therapeutics, Lafdi started exploring the use of fuzzy fiber to treat advanced glaucoma.
Advanced glaucoma is a degenerative condition that causes blindness because of excess fluid buildups in the eye. Treatment requires the implantation of a silicone shunt, which drains the damaging fluid. Silicone is used for this because the body does not reject it . However, silicone also encourages the body to form fibroblasts, a kind of scar tissue that encapsulates and ruins the shunt. Seeking an alternative, Lafdi and Timm used fuzzy fiber to create a carbon-based drain tube, which, while being biocompatible like silicone, can prevent the formation and buildup of fibroblasts.
Officially named Nano Adaptive Hybrid Fabric, fuzzy fiber is made out of a carbon fiber upon which numerous nanotubes are bonded. These nanotubes, millions of times thinner than human hair, are the fuzz on the fiber, and they allow fluids and gasses to conduct from one side of the carbon fiber to the other.
According to Timm, they expect to begin animal testing with the new drain tubes within a year, and he is hopeful the treatment will be available for general use within three years.
Lafdi’s efforts have been bolstered by a recent $3 million Ohio Third Frontier award, which will help to build a full-scale fuzzy fiber production facility. Lafdi believes the facility, which is projected to create up to 235 jobs during the next eight years, will make Dayton a global leader in nanotechnology.
Contact this reporter at (937) 225-0611 or eturan@DaytonDailyNews.com.