Carenea: Redefining the Storage of Cornea Transplants

Team Members: Christina Kong, Shreya Condamoor
School: UC Irvine

Big Ideas Logo
The standard for corneal storage requires preservation in solutions at 4 degrees Celsius for a maximum of 7-14 days. In developing countries, eye banks struggle with proper refrigeration and the high demand for corneas. They often resort to importing corneas, which are costly and have a shorter shelf life due to transport time. As a result, there is a critical shortage of corneas with 1 cornea for every 70 individuals in need. Micronanobubbles (MNBs) are gaseous vehicles that can carry oxygen within solutions for a prolonged period of time. In transplant solutions, MNBs may meet the oxygen demand of corneal cells, increasing cell survival and extending corneal shelf life. Increased oxygenation may also decrease the need for refrigeration as cells at room temperature, which have higher metabolic demand, would have enough oxygen. If eye banks in developing countries have MNBs, more patients may get the care they need.