Congratulations to Katherine A. Hajjar, MD, Vice Chair for Research and Brine Family Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology in the Department of Pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medicine, on being awarded a grant by the United States Department of Defense to develop treatment for proliferative vitreoretinopathy, a potentially blinding disease that occurs in almost one-half of military personnel who sustain a penetrating wound to the eye.
Proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) occurs in some patients who have had complicated eye surgeries. When there is a tear in the retina, cells inside the eye, known as RPE cells, that normally remain behind the retina, begin to proliferate, move away from their normal position, and migrate to the inner surface of the retina. Over time, these migratory cells form a scar-like membrane that pulls the remaining retina away from the back of the eye, severely compromising vision. PVR is increasing in frequency among military personnel due to the increasing use of explosive devices in modern combat. Unfortunately, however, there is no treatment for this devastating disease.