World Organ Donation Day

August 1, 2023

On August 13, we mark World Organ Donation Day, a time to celebrate the generosity of organ donors and the transformative impact of organ transplantation. Through their selflessness, organ donors have saved numerous lives, offering hope and renewed opportunities to individuals facing impairing and life-threatening conditions.

Organ donation is also an invaluable resource for researchers, as donated organs that are unsuitable for transplantation can still be used to study the pathophysiology of different tissues and shed light on currently untreatable conditions. This is the case of retinal degeneration, a leading cause of sight loss and blindness worldwide, which is often not curable. As we lack adequate models to mimic the complexity of human organs, studying explanted human eyes unsuitable for transplant might hold the key to our understanding of retinal degeneration; however, ophthalmic research is hindered by the fact that explanted eyes can currently be maintained viable for a very short time.

ECaBox is designing a pioneering device to preserve the human eye and guarantee retina function and structure ex vivo for an extended time period. The project aims to serve as proof of concept for organ preservation ex vivo and how the new approach can accelerate the development of new therapies and transform the organ transplantation field. This new technology will also circumvent ethical restrictions linked to human experimentation and reduce the need for animal testing, providing a ground breaking advancement in assessing the efficacy and safety of regenerative therapies.