Eye doctors in Massachusetts have released positive results in their revolutionary corneal transplant study. The study authors note that their brand new corneal transplant technique could be extremely beneficial for high-risk patients.
First, the researchers took a batch of donor corneas and combined a few of them with cytokines. Once this specialized combination was complete, researchers split a group of mice into two groups and transplanted half of them with the corneas that were mixed with cytokines.
The mice were observed for a total of eight weeks. Within that timeframe, doctors noted an above average graft survival rate in the mice with the combined corneas. Specifically, the graft survival rate for mice with the specialized corneas was 68.7 percent.
Sadly, the control group of mice didn't do well at all. Not one mouse in this group had any graft survival.
Reza Dana, vice chairman of the Harvard Department of Ophthalmology, said this test represents a viable solution to corneal transplant surgery in high-risk patients. In the official study, Dr. Dana wrote that active tolerance developed as soon as they transplanted the enhanced cornea. As Dr. Dana puts it, the significance of this active tolerance is that it "leads to long-term acceptance of the corneal transplant and suppresses all the destructive sides of immunity."
Eye doctors now say that about one third of patients going in for corneal transplants could be called "high-risk" cases. Basically, "high-risk" refers to the fact that these patients will most likely experience graft rejection even with steroids in their system.
Anyone interested in reading this full study should check out the latest issue of Scientific Reports. This study was entitled, "Treatment of donor corneal tissue with immunomodulatory cytokines: a novel strategy to promote graft survival in high-risk corneal transplantation."