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Reviving Retinas to Understand Eyes

Research efforts to learn more about diseases of the human eye have been hampered as these organs degrade rapidly after death, and animal eyes are quite different to those from humans. To address this, a team have developed a new method to revive retinas taken from donors shortly after their death. They hope this will provide tissue for new studies looking into the workings of the human eye and nervous system.

Our lab was one of a few labs that developed methods to cultivate post-mortem human eye explants.

We can cite, for example:

Characterisation and validation of the 8-fold quadrant dissected human retinal explant culture model for pre-clinical toxicology investigation

AparnaMurali, Charmaine A.Ramlogan-Steel, Jason C.Steel, Christopher J.Layton


Retinal explant culture: A platform to investigate human neuro-retina

Aparna Murali , Charmaine A. Ramlogan-Steel, Slawomir Andrzejewski , Jason C. Steel , Christopher J. Layton

Human retinal explant cultures are ideal for translational research since they preserve tissue architecture of the human eye and mimic eye responses to drug treatments. Therefore, explants are ideal platform for gene therapy studies and represent important ex-vivo model for our preclinical investigations of AAV-based gene therapy formulations.

Post-mortem human eye explants are important if we want to limit use of animals in biomedical research.

This point is nicely summarized here

“…. Yet, preclinical animal studies often have limited success in predicting human physiology, pathology, and therapeutic responses. Moreover, animal testing is facing increasing ethical and bureaucratic hurdles, while human cell cultures are limited in their ability to represent in vivo situations due to the lack of the tissue microenvironment, which may alter cellular responses. To overcome these struggles, organ cultures, especially those of complex organs such as the retina, can be used to study physiological reactions to substances or stressors.>>”

We are extremely thankful to Queensland Eye Bank to give us opportunity to use donor tissue for our research. Donors and their families shows extreme generosity and support vital eye research into age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and cancer.

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