September 2016
Volume 57, Issue 12
Open Access
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2016
Adverse Immune Signatures and their Prevention in Corneal Transplantation: A presentation and update on the VISICORT project
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jesper Hjortdal
    Ophthalmology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships   Jesper Hjortdal, None
  • Footnotes
    Support  EU Seventh Frame Programme, Grant agreement no: 602470
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science September 2016, Vol.57, 1231. doi:
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      Jesper Hjortdal; Adverse Immune Signatures and their Prevention in Corneal Transplantation: A presentation and update on the VISICORT project. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2016;57(12):1231. doi:

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose : Corneal transplantation is overall a successful procedure, but graft failure due to immunological reactions is common. VISICORT is a EU-FP7 supported multidisciplinary project, which will create a new level of understanding of adverse immune responses to corneal tissue transplants. By integrating research activities of academic and industrial partners, VISICORT will:
(a) Generate novel diagnostic and prognostic tests for adverse immune responses in transplant recipients.
(b) Develop a strategy for preventing adverse immune response and improving long-term outcome of tissue transplants by administration of immune-modulatory stromal stem cells (iSSC)

Methods : During a 60-month research programme, three specific objectives will be addressed:
1: Define the local and systemic innate and adaptive immune signatures associated with adverse outcomes from corneal transplantation.
2: Develop novel biomarker-based approaches for early diagnosis and prediction of adverse immune responses.
3: Design a mechanistically-informed clinical trial of immune-modulatory stromal stem cells (iSSC) to prevent adverse immune responses.
A cross-sectional study will include the following patient groups:
See Table 1A.
A prospective study will include:
See Table 1B.
In order to handle blood samples and collected tears and clinical characteristics, a comprehensive database system was developed. Patients were recruited from the participating clinical institutions, which annually perform more than 1,000 keratoplasty procedures.

Results : A cloud-based database and sample management system to record clinical parameters and track samples was developed incorporating 2D-barcoded sample tubes. Patient recruitment started in March 2015. As of December 1st 2015, more than 50% of the patients have been recruited. More than 10,000 locally pre-processed blood, tear, aqueous humour, and tissue samples have been transferred to a centralised bio-bank and currently await distribution for biomarker analyses.

Conclusions : The VISICORT project is an EU-financed project (Table 2) to explore immune-modulatory mechanisms associated with corneal graft failure. Database and sample handling have been successfully established and patient recruitment has been satisfactory. A Corneal Transplant Foundation biobank will be established providing an array of biospecimens which will be accessible to other researchers.

This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2016 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Seattle, Wash., May 1-5, 2016.




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