New Findings Shed Light on Donor Cornea Storage Solutions

New Findings Shed Light on Donor Cornea Storage Solutions

Dr. Dan Polla, ARVO 2019

Previous studies in the field of corneal transplantation have determined the importance of endothelial cell density in the health of corneal tissue grafts in terms of graft success rate. According to new research presented this week at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) in Vancouver, differences in the storage media solutions can have an effect on endothelial cell density.

Through the study, a retrospective analysis was conducted on a donor database from the Kansas City-based nonprofit Saving Sight to compare eye bank donor corneal endothelial cell density (ECD) after storage in Optisol GS and Life4°C solutions. The data analyzed included 24,581 donated eye bank corneas from 2011 through 2017 stored in Optisol GS or Life4°C solutions.

This project was led by Daniel Polla, MD, Ophthalmology Resident at Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, in collaboration with Saving Sight.

“My project looks at the different storage media solutions that donor corneas were stored in from 2011 to 2017 at Saving Sight. The preliminary findings demonstrate a small difference in endothelial cell density after storage in Optisol GS or Life4°C, with a higher ECD after storage in Optisol GS. The differences found between donor corneas in each of the storage media groups may be due to factors that were not accounted for over time such as changes in processing protocols, equipment used to measure ECD, and variability in specular microscopy. While it is possible that Optisol GS better preserves the endothelium, one potential cause for the small difference in ECD between groups is variation in endothelial cell visualization during specular microscopy due to differences in solution color,” said Dr. Polla.

“This research is important to the field of ophthalmology and corneal transplantation because it may influence the way that corneas are stored and/or evaluated prior to transplantation, ultimately leading to better graft success rates and outcomes for patients.” Dr. Polla added.

Saving Sight Chief Business Development Officer Patrick Gore, RN, CEBT, Director of Business Development Lynn Forest-Smith, and Chief Operating Officer Tina Livesay were co-authors on the study. As an eye bank that facilitates eye donation for transplant and research, the Saving Sight team is proud to support this project and to work in collaboration with Montefiore and Drs. Polla, Rand and Chuck.

“We collect a large amount of data on all of our donor cases and corneas as a part of normal operations. This was a great opportunity to have these data parameters analyzed collectively for this study. As an eye bank, this allows us to help researchers advance the field of corneal transplantation to help honor the gift of sight through better recipient outcomes,” said Tina Livesay, Saving Sight Chief Operating Officer.

This study highlights the importance of collaboration between eye banks, medical centers and researchers in advancing the fields of corneal transplantation and ophthalmology.

 

Abstract: 

An analysis of donor corneas stored in Optisol GS and Life4°C solutions

Authors: Daniel J. Polla MD, Gabriel M. Rand MD, Patrick K. Gore RN CEBT, Lynn Forest-Smith CEBT, Tina Livesay CEBT, Roy S. Chuck MD PhD

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Research Findings - ARVO 2019

Dan Polla, MD, Ophthalmology resident at Montefiore Medical Center, details his latest research study with Saving Sight that he will present at ARVO 2019.

New Findings Presented on Factors Associated with DMEK Processing Damage

New Findings Presented on Factors Associated with DMEK Processing Damage

Dr. Gabriel Rand – ARVO 2019

According to new research presented this week at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) in Vancouver, several potential risk factors, including donor diabetes mellitus, can lead to damage during Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty processing.

There are limited studies identifying risk factors for damage when processing Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK), which has a high processing failure rate as compared to Descemet Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK). Through a study with lead researcher Gabriel Rand, MD, second year ophthalmology resident at Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and Saving Sight, an analysis of potential risk factors was performed. Collaborative research partner, Saving Sight performs a high volume of DMEK processing.

Through the study, a retrospective analysis was completed with logistic regressions on all 385 DMEK tissues processed from 319 eligible donors at Saving Sight from July 2014 to June 2017. The study concluded that eye bank DMEK processing has significant rates of damage and risk factors for processing failure including donor diabetes mellitus, individual technician ability and the technician learning curve.

“Myself, Dr. Chuck and a bunch of us here at Montefiore have been working with Saving Sight to prepare an abstract for ARVO this year,” said Dr. Rand. “The topic of the abstract is the effect that donor diabetes status has on the corneal transplant quality. This is a really important subject because diabetes is a disease that is increasing in prevalence every year and it’s a multisystem disease – it affects every single part of the body, the cornea notwithstanding. There’s really not a tremendous amount of literature on what the potential influences that donor diabetes status has on these cornea transplant tissues. So what our contribution is, is to add to the fund of knowledge and to really examine does a donor diabetes status affect endothelial cell health, does it affect preparation failure rates, things like this, so it’s been a really exciting research project for us.”

Saving Sight Chief Business Development Officer Patrick Gore, RN, CEBT, Director of Business Development Lynn Forest-Smith, and Chief Operating Officer Tina Livesay were co-authors on the study. As an eye bank that facilitates eye donation for transplant and research, the Saving Sight team is proud to support this project and to work in collaboration with Montefiore and Drs. Rand and Chuck.

“It is a privilege for me to work with such a devoted team at Montefiore who want to advance the science of ophthalmology,” said Lynn Forest-Smith, Director of Business Development at Saving Sight. “I have a real passion for the work we do at Saving Sight and teaming up with these folks allows us to take our findings back to the eye banks, apply what we learn to improve our services and ultimately, help more people see.”

This collaborative study helps advance the fields of corneal transplantation and ophthalmology between eye banks, medical centers and researchers and helps identify factors that contribute to better grafts and better outcomes for patients.

Abstract:

Factors associated with eye bank descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty processing damage

Authors: Gabriel M. Rand MD, Patrick K. Gore RN CEBT, Lynn Forest-Smith CEBT, Tina Livesay CEBT, Roy S. Chuck MD PhD

 

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Research Findings - ARVO 2019

Gabriel Rand, MD, second-year Ophthalmology resident at Montefiore Medical Center, gives an overview of his recent research collaboration with Saving Sight for ARVO 2019

The Value of Research Collaborations – Eye Banks and Researchers

The Value of Research Collaborations – Eye Banks and Researchers

Saving Sight is honored to be co-authors with Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine on two research presentations at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO). Collaborating with ophthalmology residents and leading researchers and surgeons helps drive vision-research forward. These projects highlight how much is gained in advancing research in corneal transplantation through collaborations with eye banks, medical centers and researchers. Working together allows us to honor the gift of sight and advance the treatment of corneal disease.

“Some of our major presentations at the ARVO meeting this year are based on our partnership with the Saving Sight eye bank, who have been just a pleasure to work with,” said Dr. Roy Chuck, Chairman of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the Montefiore Medical Center. “They are very forward looking in the world of eye banking in that they have gone ahead and developed a very organized and large electronic database. In this age of research in our field of ophthalmology, and really in medicine in general, it’s all about big data.”

“We think of ourselves as forward-thinking and part of the forward-thinking is figuring out appropriate ways to work with our partners outside of the academic community, which includes eye banks and industry. What you’ll see in our research are very good collaborations that are appropriate and the right way to look forward as we develop science in this new era,” added Dr. Chuck.

Dr. Roy Chuck, Dr. Gabriel Rand, and Dr. Dan Polla

Dr. Chuck is proud to work with his residents, Dr. Gabriel Rand and Dr. Dan Polla in their research endeavors. Drs. Polla and Rand are lead authors on the two research presentations that will be presented at ARVO 2019. Read why they value research collaborations:

 

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“The collaboration between Saving Sight and Montefiore is very important and beneficial because we all ultimately have the same goal, which is to restore and improve sight in those in need. By collaborating, we are able to help each other be better in what we respectively do, ultimately leading to better outcomes on both fronts,” said Dan Polla, MD, Ophthalmology Resident at Montefiore Medical Center.

“Cornea and corneal transplants are such exciting field and I feel really lucky and grateful to be a part of it and to be doing research that makes an impact.”

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“Working with Saving Sight has been an amazing opportunity for me. I’ve been working on research projects with them that involve looking at their large databases and trying to find factors that influence the quality of the corneal grafts that come out of the eye bank,” said Dr. Gabriel Rand, Second Year Ophthalmology Resident at Montefiore Medical Center. “This has been such an incredible opportunity because, not only as a resident do I get to experience taking care of patients in the clinic and operating room, but I can also participate in the science of advancing care for patients and helping to identify factors that contribute to better grafts and better patient outcomes.”     

About Saving Sight

Saving Sight is a nonprofit eye bank with a mission to change lives by saving sight. Founded in 1960, Saving Sight has grown to become one of the nation’s leading eye banks and is focused on providing innovative solutions to its clinical and research partners. Saving Sight welcomes customized research collaborations that meet your research tissue needs and strives to advance the field of corneal transplantation through dynamic collaborations with medical centers and researchers. Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., Saving Sight facilitates eye donation in Missouri, Kansas, and Illinois, serving transplantation and research specialists locally and around the world. 

 

Fight for Sight and Saving Sight Announce Grant Awardee

Fight for Sight and Saving Sight Announce Grant Awardee

Min Tae Kim is the recipient of a Fight For Sight Summer Student Fellowship.

Kansas City, Mo. (July 5, 2018) – Nonprofit organizations Fight for Sight and Saving Sight have awarded a $2500 scholarship to Boston University School of Medicine student, Min Tae Kim, for his study of how type 2 diabetes effects corneal wound healing and repair. In his research, Kim will study the role of a channel protein, Pannexin-1, in both normal wound repair and that of diabetic tissue.

“With a better understanding of the wound healing process and its differences in diabetic and non-diabetic individuals, it may become possible for us to develop ways to better monitor these types of health complications and develop therapeutics targeting diabetic corneal dysfunction,” said Kim.

Kim was awarded the grant through Fight for Sight’s Summer Student Fellowship program, which provides support to undergraduate, graduate or medical students pursuing eye-related clinical or basic research. This particular scholarship was joint-funded by Kansas City area eye bank, Saving Sight.

“Saving Sight is proud to provide ongoing support to the ocular research community,” said Tony Bavuso, Chief Executive Officer at Saving Sight. “It’s exciting to contribute to the success of the next generation of ocular researchers in hopes of finding new treatments.”

About Saving Sight

Saving Sight is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to change lives by saving sight. Founded in 1960, Saving Sight has grown to become one of the nation’s leading eye banks and is focused on providing innovative solutions to its clinical partners. Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., Saving Sight facilitates eye donation in Missouri, Kansas, and Illinois, impacting the lives of those both near and far through transplantation.
About Fight for Sight

Since 1946, Fight for Sight (FFS) has supported and inspired eye and vision research by funding promising scientists early in their careers. FFS has granted over $21 million in research that has contributed directly or indirectly to major advances in ophthalmology and vision research, including the development of the IOL, aspects of donor cornea preservation, various use of ophthalmic lasers, glaucoma treatment and gene therapy.

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New Findings Show Diabetes in Eye Bank Donors Does Not Impact Corneal Transplant Suitability

New Findings Show Diabetes in Eye Bank Donors Does Not Impact Corneal Transplant Suitability

Dr. Roy Chuck, Lynn Forest-Smith and Dr. Gabriel Rand at ARVO 2018

With the rise in diabetes, discussion over the quality of corneal transplant tissue from diabetic donors in US eye banks is of concern. According to new research presented this week at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology in Honolulu, scientists are one step closer to proving the suitability of the tissue from diabetic donors.

Through the study, a retrospective analysis was conducted to determine if corneas from diabetic donors were more likely to be marked unsuitable for surgical use based upon poor Descemet membrane (DM) or endothelial cell ratings.

This project, led by Gabriel Rand, MD, resident at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, found that the presence of diabetes was not significantly associated with reduced transplant suitability. This study was the first in collaboration with Kansas City-based nonprofit Saving Sight’s donor data and is consistent with previous studies to support the continued preservation of the diabetic donor pool.

“Many cornea transplant surgeons are apprehensive about using grafts from diabetic donors because they believe the tissue to be of poorer quality. We analyzed the Saving Sight database and found that diabetes was not associated with differences in tissue quality across a number of eye bank suitability criteria. The research supports greater transplant utilization of tissue from diabetic donors,” said Dr. Rand.

Saving Sight Chief Business Development Officer Patrick Gore, RN, CEBT, Director of Business Development Lynn Forest-Smith, and Chief Operating Officer Tina Livesay were co-authors on the study. As an eye bank that facilitates eye donation for transplant and research, Gore said Saving Sight is proud to support this project and to work in collaboration with Montefiore and Drs. Rand, Chocron, Hu, Akella and Chuck.

Dr. Gabriel Rand, Patrick Gore, Lynn Forest-Smith and Dr. Roy Chuck at ARVO 2018

Dr. Gabriel Rand, Patrick Gore, Lynn Forest-Smith and Dr. Roy Chuck at ARVO 2018

“We appreciate partnering with such dynamic collaborators to further ophthalmic research. To paraphrase the great Helen Keller, we believe that working together we can always achieve so much more,” said Gore.

In addition to the diabetes study, the team also presented their findings on mechanical ventilation in eye bank donors and its association with poorer corneal transplant suitability at ARVO 2018.

These studies continue to advance innovation and research in corneal transplantation through collaboration between eye banks, medical centers, and researchers.

“Eye banks have traditionally had the essential role of supplying donor tissues that enable people to see,” said Dr. Rand. “Working with Dr. Chuck and Saving Sight has been an incredible opportunity for me to understand how in addition to this role, eye banks can also advance academic research in the field of ophthalmology.”

Abstracts:

Diabetes mellitus in eye bank donors does not impact corneal transplant suitability 
Authors: Gabriel Rand MD, Isaac Chocron MD, Jimmy Hu MD, Patrick Gore RN CEBT, Lynn Forest-Smith CEBT, Tina Livesay CEBT, Roy Chuck MD PhD

Mechanical ventilation in eye bank donors is associated with poorer corneal transplant suitability
Authors: Patrick Gore RN CEBT, Gabriel Rand MD, Isaac Chocron MD, Lynn Forest-Smith CEBT, Tina Livesay CEBT, Sruti Akella MD, Roy Chuck MD PhD

Saving Sight and Fight for Sight Announce Funding of Two Student Fellowship Awards

Saving Sight and Fight for Sight Announce Funding of Two Student Fellowship Awards

Kansas City, Mo. (January 8, 2018) – Today, non-profit organizations Saving Sight and Fight for Sight announced the joint funding of two new Summer Student Fellowships. The grants will be available to undergraduate, graduate or medical students conducting research relating to either the cornea or dry eye.

“Research and innovation within the field of ophthalmology are what drives our work forward as an eye bank,” said Tony Bavuso, CEO of Saving Sight. “We’re thrilled to partner with Fight for Sight to support students who are pursuing academic ocular research.”

The two grant awards will be $2,500 each with applications due to Fight for Sight on February 15, 2018. The announcement of awards is expected in May of 2018.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Saving Sight on two new Summer Student Fellowships,” said Arthur Makar, Fight for Sight’s Executive Director. “Together we will fund the next generation of leaders in corneal and dry eye research.”

About Saving Sight

Saving Sight is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to change lives by saving sight. Founded in 1960, Saving Sight has grown to become one of the nation’s leading eye banks and is focused on providing innovative solutions to its clinical partners. Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., Saving Sight facilitates eye donation in Missouri, Kansas, and Illinois, impacting the lives of those both near and far through transplantation.

About Fight for Sight

Since 1946, Fight for Sight (FFS) has supported and inspired eye and vision research by funding promising scientists early in their careers. FFS has granted over $21 million in research that has contributed directly or indirectly to major advances in ophthalmology and vision research, including the development of the IOL, aspects of donor cornea preservation, various use of ophthalmic lasers, glaucoma treatment and gene therapy.