CREMONA – Every year 5,000 are performed in Italy cornea transplants. In almost half of the cases, an injection of cells will suffice instead of the more complex surgery. This new approach simplifies surgery, speeds up recovery and it allows to treat 300 to 500 eyes with a single donor cornea. The first national congress of the Italian Society of Ophthalmological Sciences (Siso)which will be held in Rome from 19 to 21 May and presented in the Senate.
In approximately 40% of corneal blindness requiring transplantation, iThe problem depends on alterations of the deep endothelial layer and it is enough to recover this to go back to seeing. In these cases, intervening with a cell transplant will be much easier than with the standard transplant. “The technique is simple – he explains Vincenzo Sarnicolapresident of the International Cornea Society (Sicsso) – corneal endothelial cells can be extracted from donors and multiplied in culture and then injected into the recipient after removing the diseased ones “. The procedure “lasts a few minutes, visual recovery is quick and better”. The new method has already enabled visual recovery in over 300 treated patients in Japan and El Salvador. The results, published in the New England Journal of Medicine and in Ophthalmology, have paved the way for ongoing trials in the US, while the first European trial will start in Italy in 2023.
A further advantage is the possibility of treating many patients starting with only one donor cornea: To date, up to 75 eyes can be treated with cells extracted and propagated from a cornea, but experts believe that up to 300-500 patients can be managed with only one tissue. “There are 13 million people worldwide with corneal disease blindness. With the new technique – concludes Sarnicola – it will be possible to treat many more patients than today, especially in developing countries, where finding corneal tissues is not easy “. (ANSA)