Stem cells could clear corneas

15 December 2014

Research at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has pointed toward a potential new treatment for scarring on the eye's cornea. 

According to model experiments, solving this problem, which can lead to blindness, could be as simple as growing stem cells from a tiny biopsy of the patient's healthy eye and then placing them on the injured area.

The findings, published in Science Translational Medicine, may lead to novel treatment that could restore vision and reduce the demand for corneal transplants.

According to the National Eye Institute, corneal infectious diseases have compromised the vision of more than 250 million people around the world, blinding more than six million of them.

Trauma, such as burns, are also a leading cause of corneal scarring, said senior investigator Dr James Funderburgh, professor of ophthalmology at Pitt. He said the body often responds to corneal injuries by making scar tissue, which can make it difficult or impossible to see, but stem cells trigger healthy regeneration of corneal tissue leaving a clear, smooth surface.

Posted by ​Jeanette Royston​

 

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