The first European to put an artificial cornea on a blind patient

A 38-year-old patient received an artificial cornea transplant at the University Hospital of Montpellier. This first human clinical trial is the subject of a study of 45 patients around the world: in Canada, the Netherlands, Israel, Paris and Montpellier. After conducting animal tests, two patients in Israel have already benefited from these transplants since the beginning of the year.

Corneal disease is the third leading cause of blindness in the world. They are of infectious, inflammatory, traumatic or genetic origin. Current solutions for treating corneal blindness include donor transplants. Grafts, which have a limited shelf life, are sometimes rejected, and often require a new transplant after ten years.

‘No immune reaction is possible’

According to the World Health Organization, 20% of corneal blindness cannot be cured with a donor corneal transplant. Nine million people suffer from it all over the world. In France, in 2019, the last year before Covid, 5,436 business Corneal transplants were performed.

Originally from Bordeaux, the first French patient to be artificially implanted had keratitis associated with the herpes virus. His transplant was refused on several occasions. Montpellier University Hospital has joined forces with Israeli startup Corneat Vision, at the origin of this artificial cornea. “CHU is positioned in this kind of development in terms of innovation,” says Professor Vincent Daine, Head of the Department of Ophthalmology. Since it is a synthetic substance, there is no possible immune reaction. This operation generates a lot of hopes and expectations for patients who have been refused transplant.”

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