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Federal government announces $35 million for new bioengineered cornea factory

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A new factory for corneas will be established at University of Sydney, following a $35 million investment from the Medical Research Future Fund.

According to a short statement from health minister Mark Butler on Tuesday, the facility will be able to “produce, store and ship bioengineered corneas across Australia and the world” and address the issue of corneal disease.

“We’re very grateful for the funding to create a next-generation facility that will help people worldwide who suffer from poor vision and blindness,” said Gerard Sutton (pictured), a Professor of Corneal and Refractive Surgery at the university.

“Corneal bioengineering is an exciting new technology and this facility lets us be at the forefront of global development.”

Corneal disease is the third most-common cause of blindness, with over 2,000 Australians needing a corneal tissue transplant. Worldwide, there is only one donor cornea per 70 patients.  

“This facility is a major step forward to ensuring there is help available for those who need it,” added Butler.

“These revolutionary treatments prove once again that Australian medical researchers are among the best in the world.”

The statement did not give a schedule for the facility’s construction and opening.

The MRFF is a research fund set up by the federal government in 2015. 

Picture: credit Vision Eye Institute

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