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Manchester Eye Bank on BBC3's Human Tissue Squad - 9pm tonight!

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Manchester Eye Bank, part of Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, is to feature in a new BBC3 documentary about tissue donation, The Human Tissue Squad.

In the second episode of the documentary, to be broadcast at 9pm tonight, MREH surgeon Mr Arun Brahma performs a deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (the 'big bubble technique') when replacing a patient's damaged cornea with one donated at death, and stored at our Eye Bank.

The Eye Bank forms part of the Corneal Transplant Service, being one of only two banks providing the service at the national level. As one of the largest eye banks in Europe, it plays a crucial part in the transplant of corneas. In the last year the Eye Bank processed over 2000 eyes.

The Human Tissue Squad is a documentary with unprecedented access to the tissue donation team and staff at NHS Blood and Transplant's national human tissue bank in Liverpool. Offering a revealing insight into life at the UK's only centre of its kind, this series shows the physical and emotional challenges facing the team in its crucial work providing donated human tissue to patients within the NHS.

NHS Blood and Transplant's Tissue Services is the only tissue bank in the UK that operates from initial donor referral through to the hospitals who use it to improve patients' lives. Relying on the generosity of donors' families, the team is able to provide heart valves, skin, tendons, bone and other tissues to repair or rebuild the bodies of thousands of people severely injured or affected by disease every year.

The mini-series also meets some of the young people whose lives have been transformed by these transplants and the pioneering surgeons who make the best use of the very special materials entrusted to them.

Human Tissue Squad

ENDS

Notes for Editors:

The Bristol and Manchester Eye Banks form part of the Corneal Transplant Service, being the only two banks providing the service at the national level, whereas the smaller banks only serve local hospitals.

As one of the largest eye banks in Europe, the Manchester Eye Bank plays a crucial part in the transplant of corneas. In the last year the Eye Bank processed over 2000 eyes.

A cornea is a transparent five pence sized tissue, which covers the front of the eye. If as a result of injury, infection or disease, the cornea becomes 'foggy' or clouded, vision can be impaired or in some instances deteriorate entirely.

The only substitute for a human cornea is another human cornea donated at death. Transplantation involves replacing the damaged cornea with a healthy one from a donor, via an eye bank.

The Manchester Eye Bank processes donated eyes from across the country, preparing corneas for graft surgery, which helps to restore sight.

Virtually anyone can donate his or her eyes and any donor tissue which might not be suitable for transplant can, be used for medical or research purposes, pending consent from the donor.

To be able to donate, in the first instance you need to register in the Organ Donor Register (this can be done online). It's also important to let your family know of your wish to donate as your next of kin will be responsible for granting consent. Talking to them about your decision will help to make the process easier for them.

For more information and interview requests contact:

Melanie Webb - Premier

melanie.webb@premiercomms.com

0207 292 7337