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A. Jun, C. L. Speck, W. J. Stark, E. H. Myrowitz, M. L. Braithwaite, E. K. Akpek, A. Behrens, R. S. Chuck, A. Kim, S. Chakravarti; Establishment of a Keratoconus Research Center at the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2008;49(13):4313. doi: https://doi.org/.
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The purpose of this project was to establish a comprehensive keratoconus research center at the Wilmer Eye Institute and investigate underlying disease pathogenesis.
Johns Hopkins IRB approval for the study was obtained. Electronic patient records over the past 10 years and new patient appointment records at the Wilmer Eye Institute were searched. All patients with a diagnosis of keratoconus were identified. Patients were contacted directly by the study coordinator prior to or during a scheduled appointment. Informed consent was obtained for all participating patients and controls. A comprehensive patient questionnaire, clinical exam, and corneal modeling were completed by all participating patients. Serum, genomic DNA, and tear film samples were obtained from each participant. Corneal tissue samples were obtained from patients undergoing keratoplasty. A customized, searchable, web-based database of patient historical, clinical, and laboratory information was designed. A website providing information to patients about keratoconus and our study was established (www.jhu.edu/schakravarti/kcn). Comparison of patient and control serum inflammatory markers was performed by multiplex cytokine analysis (Biorad, Hercules, CA).
Approximately 2500 individuals were identified as keratoconus patients at the Wilmer Eye Institute over the past 10 years. Our study is actively enrolling patients and controls. The customized database allows accurate recording of individual historical and clinical information, pedigree data, laboratory results, and detailed patient sample accounting. No statistically significant differences between patients and controls were detected by serum multiplex cytokine analysis for interleukin (IL)-1b, IL-4, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12, IL-13, interferon-gamma, RANTES, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha.
A keratoconus research center at the Wilmer Eye Institute has been established. By combining the substantial keratoconus patient population with a clearly defined and organized research plan, this center should allow a significant expansion of keratoconus research capabilities at the Wilmer Institute. Additional work in progress will address the potential roles of inflammation and genetics in this disease.
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