Adult Stem Cells Heal Damaged Corneas

April 9, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, released an exciting new study today showing that corneal stem cells hold great promise to treat patients with corneal blindness and cloudy vision from eye trauma and scarring. Researchers injected corneal stem cells into mice with cloudy vision and three months later their vision problems were repaired, restoring clear vision.

Researchers also discovered that the corneal stem cells didn’t trigger a significant immune response, causing a problematic rejection of the cells. The researchers speculated that the cornea and its stem cells may be “immune privileged,” meaning the cornea can easily accept and adapt to the injection of new stem cells.

What’s even more exciting is the treatment worked to clear up the vision of lab mice. Once injected into the eyes, the stem cells got to work in rebuilding the damaged corneal tissue. Current treatments for damaged corneas involve a cornea transplant, which researchers say have a good success rate, but don’t last for a lifetime, subjecting patients to multiple transplant procedures.

During the study, researchers used stem cells from the stroma layer of the cornea, which produces a protein called lumican that keeps the cornea transparent. The researchers see great promise for large scale production of this stem cell treatment. When they multiplied the stroma stem cells in the lab, the cells continued to produce the valuable lumican protein, indefinitely.

The researchers see this new treatment helping thousands of human patients soon, who suffer from permanent vision impairment, and even blindness, due to scarring from infection, trauma and other eye injuries.

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Comments

One Response to “Adult Stem Cells Heal Damaged Corneas”

  1. phyl franklin on April 10th, 2009 3:38 am

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