Defect technology: a new horizon in endothelium transplantation

September 9, 2007

Gene defect technology can be used to prevent corneal allograft rejection and the decay of endothelial cells in ex vivo corneal transplantation.

Gene defect technology can be used to prevent corneal allograft rejection and the decay of endothelial cells in ex vivo corneal transplantation, according to Dr Frank Larkin of Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, UK, presenting at the "Endothelium: new surgical and medical concepts" symposium.

Dr Larkin set out to evaluate the use of defect approaches in corneal endothelial function, and how this can aid successful cornea transplantation. After the success of a recent study in which he used this technology to carry out corneal endothelial transplantation in a donor rabbit eye, Larkin believes this approach is now "on the horizon and not over the horizon."

As a result of his studies, Dr Larkin found that using gene defect technology to create genetically engineered endothelium may help to prevent corneal allograft rejection and the decay of cells in ex vivo corneal endothelium transfer. "This is evidence that this kind of approach is biologically effective," he said.

Larkin points out that further research needs to be done to determine the longer term outcomes of this approach, "because if we want to use this in humans, it is very important that we establish the safety aspects and tolerability of this technology."

For Larkin, the future of defect technology is "on the horizon, not over it," with far-reaching possibilities for the future. "I'm quite sure that somewhere down the track this type of technology will be used in combination approaches, possibly combining cell replication with immunoprotection," he suggested, "and the earliest application will probably be in eye banking."