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PRIMA subretinal wireless photovoltaic microchip implantation in non-human primate and feline models


PURPOSE:To evaluate the surgical technique for subretinal implantation of two sizes of PRIMA photovoltaic wireless microchip in two animal models, and refine these surgical procedures for human trials. METHODS:Cats and Macaca fascicularis primates with healthy retina underwent vitrectomy surgery and were implanted with subretinal wireless photovoltaic microchip at the macula/central retina. The 1.5mm PRIMA chip was initially studied in feline eyes. PRIMA implant (2mm,1.5mm sizes) arrays were studied in primates. Feasibility of subretinal chip implantation was evaluated with a newly-developed surgical technique, with surgical complications and adverse events recorded. RESULTS:The 1.5mm implant was placed in the central retina of 11 feline eyes, with implantation duration 43-106 days. The 1.5mm implant was correctly positioned into central macula of 11 primate eyes, with follow-up periods of minimum 6 weeks (n = 11), 2 years (n = 2), and one eye for 3 years. One primate eye underwent multi-chip 1.5mm implantation using two 1.5mm chips. The 2mm implant was delivered to 4 primate eyes. Optical coherence tomography confirmed correct surgical placement of photovoltaic arrays in the subretinal space in all 26 eyes. Intraoperative complications in primate eyes included retinal tear, macular hole, retinal detachment, and vitreous hemorrhage that resolved spontaneously. Postoperatively, there was no case of significant ocular inflammation in the 1.5mm implant group. CONCLUSIONS:We report subretinal implantation of 1.5mm and 2mm photovoltaic arrays in the central retina of feline and central macula of primate eyes with a low rate of device-related complications. The in vivo PRIMA implantation technique has been developed and refined for use for a 2mm PRIMA implant in ongoing human trials.

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