Researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine will lead a national study determining if corneas transplanted up to two weeks after donor death work as well as corneas transplanted up to one week after donor death. The National Eye Institute has awarded a $12.3 million grant to support the work.
The supply of donated corneas nationwide meets current needs about 40,000 transplants in 2010.
But with an aging population and health concerns about the future donor pool, researchers want to ensure the supply can meet an expected growth in demand over the next two to three decades.
"Over the past 20 years, corneal transplant specialists have gotten comfortable using corneas up to one week after the death of the donor, when in fact they can use them up to two weeks after death," said Dr. Jonathan Lass, the Charles I Thomas Professor and Chairman of the Case Western Reserve Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and Director of the University Hospitals Eye Institute. Lass, who is also medical director of the Cleveland Eye Bank, which provides corneas for transplant, is the lead investigator of the Cornea Preservation Time Study.
The kickoff meeting for investigators and eye banks participating in the Cornea Preservation Time Study will be held prior to the American Academy of Ophthalmology Convention in Orlando, Friday, Oct. 21 at the Cornea Society/Eye Bank Association of America Fall Symposium.
"The Cornea Preservation Time Study is a model for the type of research we must continue to pursue in order to creatively target critical issues such as donor organ shortages," said Pamela B. Davis, MD PhD, dean of the CWRU School of Medicine.
"This project offers the potential of immediate, life-altering impact for thousands of people."
The U.S. Food and Drug administration does permit corneas to be stored in preservation medium at refrigerator temperature up to two weeks after dono
|Contact: Kevin Mayhood|
Case Western Reserve University