More exciting news on the potential use of stem cells. The story is from the University of Pittsburgh who has done quite a bit of research with tem cells and the testing now is limited to mice. This could potentially stand to emerge to be an alternative treatment to having a cornea transplant. The next step is testing mice with scars on their corneas.
In another related story a family made a trip to China for stem cell injections for a child who was going blind and now she can see. After the 3rd treatment of injections in to her spine, it started working, she could read and now has 20/30 vision. So far only 10 people had had the treatment with stem cells for the underdeveloped optic nerve. The entire treatment took 6 weeks.
This is a picture of a bladder grown from the patient’s own stem cells and being implanted with surgery. There are around 9 women walking around Boston with transplanted bladders, grown from their own stem cells.
The TED convention this year in Long Beach had an excellent presentation on regenerative medicine and stem cell research, with a presentation from the University of Pittsburgh and the video is well worth watching to see how exciting and how fast the technology is moving in this area. BD
Stem cells collected from human corneas restore transparency and don’t trigger a rejection response when injected into eyes that are scarred and hazy, according to experiments conducted in mice by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Their study will be published in the journal Stem Cells and appears online today.
The findings suggest that cell-based therapies might be an effective way to treat human corneal blindness and vision impairment due to the scarring that occurs after infection, trauma and other common eye problems, said senior investigator James L. Funderburgh, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Ophthalmology. The Pitt corneal stem cells were able to remodel scar-like tissue back to normal.
“Our experiments indicate that after stem cell treatment, mouse eyes that initially had corneal defects looked no different than mouse eyes that had never been damaged,” Dr. Funderburgh said.
In the next steps, the researchers intend to use the stem cells to treat lab animals that have corneal scars to see if they, too, can be repaired with stem cells. Under the auspices of UPMC Eye Center’s recently established Center for Vision Restoration, they plan also to develop the necessary protocols to enable clinical testing of the cells.