Initially we had Autologous Serum eye drops. These were manufactured from plasma extracted from a patients own blood. These are bottled after extraction and enhance corneal healing because of all the regenerative growth factors found in our blood plasma.
Now we have a evolution of this treatment – the Genius in-house platelet-rich plasma (PRP) extraction and centrifugal preparation system.
The Genius system we saw at the recent 2019 Toyos Conference, is very slick, taking only 2 minutes to double spin/centrifuge the blood drawn. The whole process from drawing the blood to giving the patient 3 bottles of their own personalised eye drops takes 17 minutes.
The Genius PRP system
A 30cc or 60cc sample of blood is usually taken from the patient’s non-dominant arm, typically from the Median Cubital Vein, the Median Cephalic Vein or the Cephalic Vein. These lie in the ante-cubital fossa which lies at the bend of the elbow at the front of the arm. Generally the Basillic Vein is avoided as it runs close to the Brachial Artery and the Ulna Nerve. The veins on the dorsal surface of the hand can be used, but require a higher level of expertise.
PRP contains 7.8x the concentration of growth factors etc compared to whole blood or plasma and is analogous to a drip feed of amniotic membrane every day. We will be watching this space carefully as I have several patients whose eyes are too dry and sensitive to wear an amniotic membrane and bandage contact lens, even for a week or two. This could the answer for them.
Most of the cross contamination of blood products issues do not apply as its autologous blood, the patient is only being given products made from their own blood. I expect we will see much more about this recent development in the near future.
Rolando Toyos explained at the conference that this drip feed of growth factors helped facilitate proper regrowth of corneal nerves and reduction in inflammation, often still present after corneal healing seems complete.