Stem Cell Contact Lens Help Blind To See Again

(Stem Cells News image)

Stem Cell Research using the patient’s own Adult Stem Cells has brought us another great discovery- Stem Cell Contact Lens. In Australia, a group of doctors in a research study treated 3 patients who had some form of cornea problems and they all were able to see after the stem cell treatment in which their own stem cells healed damage to their cornea

The Process of Stem Cells for the Cornea

  1. The doctors removed Adult Stem Cells from the patient’s good eye
  2. The stem cells were grown on a contact lens for 10 days
  3. The contact lens was placed on the damaged eye for 3 weeks
  4. The stem cells “blend” into the eye and repair the damage in the cornea

From the stem cell article:

The researchers, led by Dr Nick di Girolamo, said each person’s sight improved significantly within weeks of the procedure, and that it was a simple inexpensive technique which required a minimal hospital stay

Stem Cell Research Abstract

Also, here is the  stem cell research abstract for the cornea study.  Here are some of the actual results:

Results. A stable transparent corneal epithelium was restored in each patient. There was no recurrence of conjunctivalization or corneal vascularization, and a significant improvement in symptom score occurred in all patients. Best-corrected visual acuity was increased in all eyes after the procedure.

This technique is simple, non invasive, and uses the patient’s own stem cells– so the patient has nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying something like this.  What can be easier than popping in a contact lens?

Covering Old Stem Cell Ground?

However, it seems like they have doing something similar in India for a number of years. Notice in the story, that the doctors removed stem cells from the good eye of the patient. What happens if the patient has two bad eyes? Well there are  doctors in India are getting the stem cells from under the lip of the patient. This stem cell story didn’t get any run when it came out in October of 2008- but it probably should have. Read more about what this group of stem cell doctors in India have for stem cells for the cornea here

original post by Don Margolis

3 thoughts on “Stem Cell Contact Lens Help Blind To See Again”

  1. “Contact lens stem cell sight aid”

    Scientists have used stem cells grown onto contact lenses to improve the sight of people with cornea damage.

    The treatment was given to three patients by a team from Australia’s University of New South Wales. All saw improvements within weeks.

    They used the patients’ own stem cells in the treatment, detailed in the journal Transplantation, and a type of lens already used after eye surgery.

    UK experts said the small-scale study was promising.
    The cornea is the transparent layer that covers the eye – but it can lose transparency, damaging sight.

    In the most serious cases, people can need cornea grafts or transplants.

    Corneal disease can be caused by genetic disorders, surgery, burns, infections or chemotherapy.

    In this study, all three patients had damage to the epithelium – the layer of cells covering the front of the cornea.

    Eye cells

    The researchers in this study used limbal stem cells – found within the eye.

    Stem cells are “master cells”, which have the power to transform themselves into other cell types.

    The cells can be taken from any healthy part of the eye and, because they are from the patient’s own body, the transplant will not be rejected.

    They removed small samples of stem cells from the eyes of the three patients – two men and a woman – and grew them on contact lenses.

    The patients then wore the lenses for 10 days.

    During that period, the stem cells moved off the lenses and onto the damaged corneas.

    The patients were followed up for between eight and 13 months.

    ‘Step forward’

    The researchers, led by Dr Nick di Girolamo, said each person’s sight improved significantly within weeks of the procedure, and that it was a simple inexpensive technique which required a minimal hospital stay.

    Professor Kuldip Sidhu, director of the Stem Cell Lab and Chair of Stem Cell Biology at the University of New South Wales, who was not directly involved in the work, said: “This study is a step forward towards developing regenerative medicine with stem cells for other debilitating human diseases.

    And Loane Skene, professor of law at the University of Melbourne and former Deputy Chair of the Lockhart Committee on human cloning and embryo research, said: “Provided that patients are told that the new procedure is experimental and possible risks are not yet known, and they then consent to have it, this use of a patient’s own stem cells is no more ethically contentious than a skin transplant”

    Sonal Rughani, of the RNIB, said: “This small-scale study reveals promising outcomes with the use of contact lenses.

    “We await further developments of this innovative nature.”


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