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Genetically modified cornea prevents transplant rejection

Researchers have genetically modified a cornea in an effort to safely and effectively prevent rejection that can occur post-transplantation.

Two genes intended to prevent new blood vessel formation following transplantation were introduced into a donor cornea, reducing the risk of tissue rejection in a high-risk rabbit model. The genes were safe, well tolerated, and effective, which according to the researchers supports angiogenesis as a valid target for treatment to prevent corneal graft rejection in high-risk patients.

The study was co-authored by Dr Tim Stout from Baylor College of Medicine and Oxford BioMedica’s Dr Scott Ellis, who used a lentiviral vector to transfer the genes for the human proteins endostatin and angiostatin into the donor corneas. These secreted proteins inhibit vascularisation, which helps to prevent an immune reaction to the transplanted tissue and rejection of the cornea.

The study was published in Human Gene Therapy.


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