Sanjay V. Patel, M.D., is a corneal specialist and corneal transplant surgeon who has research interests in Fuchs' endothelial dystrophy, the most common indication for corneal transplantation at Mayo Clinic, and in developing regenerative medicine methods of treating corneal disease.
His work includes laboratory and applied basic science research, clinical research involving corneal imaging, and clinical trials in corneal disease in surgery. Dr. Patel has also undertaken long-term clinical trials in refractive surgery.
- Fuchs' dystrophy grading and prospective studies. Corneal imaging techniques are being evaluated as novel methods of grading Fuchs' dystrophy and to determine changes in corneas with Fuchs' dystrophy over time.
- Fuchs' dystrophy genetics. After the first genetic association for the common variant of Fuchs' dystrophy was discovered at Mayo Clinic, studies are continuing to determine the role of this association in the disease.
- Corneal transplantation techniques. Clinical studies are in progress to assess the outcomes of different techniques of corneal transplantation for endothelial disorders, such as Fuchs' endothelial corneal dystrophy. The studies will assess visual outcomes and transplant survival.
- Regenerative studies of the corneal stroma. Laboratory studies are in progress to develop an artificial corneal substitute that could become an off-the-shelf treatment for corneal blindness, and to test the transparency and biocompatibility of these novel substitutes in vitro and in vivo.
- Regenerative studies of the corneal endothelium. New methods of endothelial cell transplantation are being developed in which ex vivo regeneration of cells will enable the treatment of corneal endothelial diseases. This would enable a single donor to treat multiple recipients.
Significance to patient care
Dr. Patel's research is helping to understand the changes that occur in Fuchs' endothelial dystrophy and their relevance to visual outcomes of current methods of corneal transplantation. As therapeutic modalities improve and enable earlier treatment of the disease, many of these studies will help determine the optimum time for intervening in the disease. The goal of the corneal regeneration studies is to bring the treatment of corneal disease to many more patients, including those with corneal blindness in the developing world.