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First Corneal Transplant with Pre-loaded Donor Tissue Performed at Massachusetts Eye and Ear

The first successful cornea transplant with donor endothelial tissue preloaded by an eye bank has been performed at Massachusetts Eye and Ear in Boston, Mass. Roberto Pineda II, M.D., Director of the Refractive Surgery Service at Mass. Eye and Ear, and an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, recently performed the groundbreaking transplant.
Dr. Pineda performed the surgery utilizing donor endothelial tissue that was prepared and pre-loaded into EndoGlide™ (Angiotech Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) cartridges at the Lions Eye Institute for Transplant & Research (LEITR) in Tampa, FL. According to Dr. Pineda, using preloaded donor tissue may minimize potential damage to the endothelial cells and, thus, may lead to better outcomes for the patient.

“Reducing any variables that could interfere with a patient’s ability to successfully regain sight after surgery is significant,” said Dr. Pineda. “The ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life for our patients,” Dr. Pineda said.

A world-leading cornea expert and refractive surgeon at Mass. Eye and Ear, Dr. Pineda has collaborated with LEITR and Angiotech/Sharpoint for the last seven months to help develop the innovative procedure.

“I am pleased that - with Dr. Pineda leading these efforts - Mass. Eye and Ear is at the forefront of implementing an innovative technology that could greatly improve the quality of surgical outcomes for patients facing partial or complete vision loss,” said Joan W. Miller, M.D., FARVO, Chief and Chair of Ophthalmology at Mass. Eye and Ear and Harvard Medical School.

Last year, LEITR reported that eye banks are able to safely prepare and load corneal tissue into the EndoGlide™ cartridges. In a pre-clinical study presented at the 2012 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Annual Meeting, corneal buttons pre-loaded by LEITR sustained an average of 9.07% endothelial cell damage, compared to 36.2% endothelial cell damage in control group tissue that was loaded into the insertion system on site. The difference in endothelial damage between the preloaded and control buttons was statistically significant (P = 0.004).

About Massachusetts Eye and Ear
Mass. Eye and Ear clinicians and scientists are driven by a mission to find cures for blindness, deafness and diseases of the head and neck. After uniting with Schepens Eye Research Institute in 2011, Mass. Eye and Ear in Boston became the world's largest vision and hearing research center, offering hope and healing to patients everywhere through discovery and innovation. Mass. Eye and Ear is a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital and trains future medical leaders in ophthalmology and otolaryngology, through residency as well as clinical and research fellowships. Internationally acclaimed since its founding in 1824, Mass. Eye and Ear employs full-time, board-certified physicians who offer high-quality and affordable specialty care that ranges from the routine to the very complex. U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospitals Survey” has consistently ranked the Mass. Eye and Ear Departments of Otolaryngology and Ophthalmology as top five in the nation. For more information about life-changing care and research, or to learn how you can help, please visit

About Endothelial Keratoplasty (EK)
Endothelial Keratoplasty (EK) procedures allow surgeons to preserve the majority of a recipient's cornea while replacing the non-functioning or diseased inner portion of the cornea with a healthy donor tissue. EK procedures require small incisions and are more minimally invasive than Penetrating Keratoplasty (PK) procedures. Descemet's Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK) is a procedure offering minimal astigmatism and more rapid visual recovery, as compared to traditional PK procedures.

About the Lions Eye Institute for Transplant & Research (LEITR)
The Lions Eye Institute for Transplant & Research, Inc., (LEITR) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the recovery, evaluation and distribution of eye tissue for transplantation, research and education. LEITR's Eye Bank, located in Tampa, FL., is the only combined eye bank and ocular research center in the world. Since its inception, it has brought the "Gift of Sight" to more than 55,000 men, women and children worldwide. For more information, visit LEITR is a proud member of Vision Share, a highly organized network of the most innovative and successful eye banks.

Vannessa Carrington | EurekAlert!
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