As part of research, published in Scientific Reports, donor corneas were treated with a combination of cytokines before being tested in a mouse model of corneal transplantation.
Eight weeks after transplantation, the researchers observed a significantly higher rate of graft survival in mice that had received the cytokine-enhanced corneas (68.7%) compared to a control group where none of the grafts survived.
Senior author, Dr Reza Dana, told OT that he was excited about the advancements.
“It’s highly translatable technology,” he emphasised.
“When we grafted the tissue that has been treated that way, active tolerance was developed, which leads to long-term acceptance of the corneal transplant and suppresses all the destructive sides of immunity,” Dr Dana concluded.
Roughly one third of corneal transplant cases are “high-risk,” with an increased chance of graft rejection even when steroids are used to suppress the immune system.
Image credit: Eric Wiessner