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Stem cells injected into the eyes of mice with defective corneas returned the corneas to a more normal appearance, a new study has found.
Researchers hope the procedure might one day be in humans. About 40,000 such transplants are done each year in the United States.
“The stem cells took the scar-like matrix, remodeled it and made it more like normal,” said senior investigator James Funderburgh, an associate professor of ophthalmology at the University of Pittsburgh. “We were surprised and delighted.”
A report on the study is in the April 9 online edition of the journal Stem Cells.
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CINCINNATI—New research from the University of Cincinnati may help in the recovery of lost vision for patients with corneal scarring.
Winston Whei-Yang Kao, PhD, professor of ophthalmology, along with other researchers in UC’s ophthalmology department found that transplanting human umbilical mesenchymal stem cells into mouse models that lack the protein lumican restored the transparency of cloudy and thin corneas.
Mesenchymal stem cells are “multi-potent” stem cells that can differentiate into a variety of cell types.
These findings are being presented Dec. 8 in San Diego at the 49th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Cell Biology.
“Corneal transplantation is currently