3D-Bioengineering of the Conventional Outflow Tract as Model for High-Throughput Drug Screening

Cula, Dautriche ;   Susan, Sharfstein ;   Xie, Yubing ;   Bergkvist, Magnus ;   Kerr, Matthew ;   Szymanski, Dennis ;   Danias, John ;   Stamer, W. D.

Glaucoma remains the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. Glaucoma is characterized by chronic degeneration of axons of the optic nerve along with its supporting glia and vasculature. While there are drugs and treatments available that can slow down the progression of this disease, there is no cure yet. Advances in our understanding of glaucoma physiology and pathology and glaucoma drug development have been hindered by the lack of a 3D in vitro model for the conventional outflow tract. The conventional outflow tract is the resistance-generating region and pathology in this region leads to increased intracocular pressure. An in vitro model could be used to mimic the behavior of the structure in vivo and to evaluate responses to glaucoma drugs. Using photolithography and microfabrication techniques, we have engineered a scaffold-hydrogel system to create a 3D in vitro conventional outflow tract for high-throughput drug screening and rapid glaucoma drug development.