Interesting article about First Whole-Eye Transplant research. This research has not commenced at this time. Scientists believe “with what we now know about transplantation and, more importantly, nerve regeneration, we are finally at the point where we can have real confidence that this is something that actually can be pursued and eventually achieved”. – MDA

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

Nerve regeneration is challenge, but real headway is being made in the field, researchers say

THURSDAY, Oct. 30, 2014 (HealthDay News) — In the world of 21st-century medicine, organ transplantation is nothing new.

The first kidney transplant took place in 1950, followed by the first liver transplant in 1963 and the first human heart transplant in 1967. By 2010, doctors had even managed the transplantation of a patient’s entire face.

One major organ still eludes the transplant surgeon, however: the entire human eye. But if one team of U.S. scientists has its way, that dream may become reality, too.

“Until recently, eye transplants have been considered science fiction,” said Dr. Vijay Gorantla, an associate professor of surgery in the department of plastic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh. “People said it was crazy, bonkers.”

However, “with what we now know about transplantation and, more importantly, nerve regeneration, we are finally at the point where we can have real confidence that this is something that actually can be pursued and eventually achieved,” he said.

Whole-eye transplants would be of enormous benefit for many of the 180 million blind or severely visually disabled people around the world, including nearly 3.5 million Americans, experts say.

“Macular degeneration and glaucoma are the root cause of much the world’s visual impairment,” explained Dr. Jeffrey Goldberg, director of research at the Shiley Eye Center at University of California, San Diego.

Certainly, there are therapies that often help restore sight in these cases, or in people who’ve lost sight through injury. “But for some people the eye is too damaged or too far gone,” Goldberg said. “For patients with a devastating eye injury where there’s no remaining connective optic nerve — or perhaps not even an eyeball in their eye socket — restorative approaches are simply not enough.”

In these cases, transplantation of a healthy donor eye would be a solution. “It’s a scientific long shot,” Goldberg said. “But it’s a very attractive long shot.”

So, Gorantla and Goldberg — and their two universities — have teamed up to push whole-eye transplantation from theory into practice. The effort is funded by the U.S. Department of Defense…..

read more: http://consumer.healthday.com/eye-care-information-13/eye-and-vision-problem-news-295/scientists-set-their-sights-on-first-whole-eye-transplant-692505.html

source: Health Day

On