May 21, 2024

Vision restored to blind using own eye stem cells

Successful reimplantation of eye stem cells
Patients who were blinded in one or both
eyes by chemical burns were restored their sight after healthy stem cells were
extracted from their eyes and reimplanted, according Italian researchers at the
University of Modena’s Center for Regenerative Medicine.

The stem cells were drawn from an area
called the limbus, where cornea and the white part of the eye meet. The
extracted tissue was grown on fibrous tissue, and then layered onto the damaged
eyes. The cells grew into healthy corneal tissue, turning disfigured,
non-functional eyes into working eyes with normal colour and appearance.

More than 75% of the 112 patients treated
had their sight restored using this stem-cell treatment, according to Graziella
Pellegrini, the leader of the research team. In an interview at the meeting in
San Francisco where the report was published, she said: “We have a couple of
patients who were blind in both eyes. Can you imagine for these patients the
change in their quality of life?”

Ivan Schwab, professor of ophthalmology and
stem cell researcher at the University of California, Davis, praised
Pellegrini’s work, particularly for its long-term success. Schwab has treated
patients in clinical trials using a procedure based on Pellegrini’s research.
Although his patients showed some short-term improvement, the benefits did not
last long. Pellegrini’s showed long-term improvement, Schwab told Bloomberg last

Many of her patients were blind for many
years before the transplant, as a result of blood vessels and tissue growing
over the damaged parts of the eye. Some had undergone failed surgeries and
other treatments. ~Bloomberg,
Jun 18

Jared Yee
stem cells