Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin is arguably the largest medical centre in Europe. Its Department of Ophthalmology became a major institution following unification of Berlin/Germany and covers all ophthalmological sub-specialities. CUB is a tertiary medical centre for the Berlin/Brandenburg area (pop. 4.5M) as well as for parts of northern and eastern Germany.

Up to 300 corneal transplants are performed annually at the department with an increasing proportion (30-50%) of posterior lamellar transplants. The Cornea Bank Berlin, part of the University Tissue Bank of the Charité, is one of the 3 largest in Germany with almost 600 donor corneas explanted and processed and up to 400 corneas released for transplantation annually. It is recognised as the leading institution in Germany for quality control and standardization in cornea banking and is an active member of the German Cornea Bank section of the German Ophthalmological Society and the European Eye Bank Association.

Its research mission includes investigation of endothelial cell viability in organ cultured donor corneas and the microbiological safety of corneal grafts. All CT recipients at CUB are routinely followed at the Cornea Outpatient Clinic with regular clinical evaluations including corneal endothelial cell evaluation, corneal topography and confocal microscopy.

Additional tests, including aqueous humour evaluation are performed when indicated with immunological evaluations (e.g. cytokine profiling) performed in a dedicated research laboratory. Research focus at CUB has included investigations of adverse immune risk factors and responses including studies on the effect of HLA matching and neovascularisation on graft outcome.

  • Prof. Uwe Pleyer is Professor of Ophthalmology at CUB and is a distinguished ophthalmic surgeon with extensive basic and clinical research experience in CT and related immunology. He was educated and trained at the RWTH in Aachen, Germany; Cornell University, USA and University Eye Hospital in Tübingen, Germany and the Jules Stein Eye Institute, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA. He specialised in immune-mediated eye diseases and completed his PhD thesis on “Immunobiology and Prevention of Allograft Reaction after Experimental Keratoplasty”. Professor Pleyer has served as Principal Investigator for several national and international trials related to clinical and experimental CT and is an active member of the European Association for Vision and Eye Research (EVER), the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons (ESCRS) and the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) and is a founding member of the International Ocular Inflammation Society (IOIS). He has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles, focusing on immune-mediated disorders of the eye, in particular related to corneal grafting. He has supervised over 20 doctoral thesis and 7 PhD degrees in this field.