Novel research on toxic effects of Mitomycin C presented at world-class ophthalmic symposium

Asadolah Movahedan, MDAt the April 2013 meeting of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) Asadolah Movahedan, MD, and his collaborators were recognized for their novel research into the adverse effects of a topical agent widely used in ophthalmic procedures.

ASCRS is the ophthalmic surgeons’ primary source of up-to-date information on developments within the field of cataract and anterior segment surgery. Hundreds of posters from around the world are submitted for consideration at the symposium.

“The Effect of Topical Mitomycin C on Corneal Limbal Stem Cells in Mouse Model” was deemed best in the cornea category.  View Poster

“It is an honor to have a poster named winner and be recognized at this high-end scientific meeting,”  Dr. Movahedan said. “There have been concerns regarding the toxic effects of Mitomycin C (MMC) on limbal stem cells in refractive surgery, especially with longer duration of application.”

“To our knowledge, this is the first in vivo study showing the adverse effect of topical Mitomycin C on limbal stem cells,” added co-author Neda Afshar, MD.

The limbal region of the eye is located where the cornea and sclera—the white of the eye—meet. The stem cells in this region are vital for the maintenance of the cornea’s surface, the epithelium. Limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD) can be caused by several factors, including eye disorders, injuries and surgeries. While creating LSCD in a mouse model, Dr. Movahedan discovered that MMC administered in the usual doses used in refractive surgery can be hazardous to mouse corneal epithelial cell progenitors.

Ali Djalilian, MD, DirectorCo-author and associate professor Ali Djalilian, MD, added, “In clinical practice, we always weigh the risks and benefits of each treatment. The risks may not always be apparent at the time and it is only after long term follow-up that we can start to see the complete picture. This study gives us new insight into the subclinical changes that take place in the limbal stem cells, which may become manifest only after the corneal epithelium is stressed. Animal models are useful for exploring these types of questions. Through these studies, we hope we can provide clinicians with better information to guide the use of MMC.”

Dr. Movahedan concluded: “We are working to extend this study with the inclusion of more specific measures of limbal stem cell injury in subjects with limbal regions more similar to humans.  If the results are confirmed in these subjects, the safety of MMC, especially in high risk cases where longer duration of application is necessary, might be challenged.”