A new adult stem cell treatment developed in the UK has restored
sight to several patients in a trial. Researchers at the North East
England Stem Cell Institute regrew the outside membrane of damaged
corneas from stem cells taken from a healthy eye. All of them were
suffering from limbal stem cell deficiency, a painful eye disease that prevents the cornea from renewing itself.
Dr Francisco Figueiredo, who co-led the
project, told the London Telegraph: "Corneal cloudiness has been estimated to cause blindness in
eight million people worldwide each year. The stem cell treatment option is aimed at total cure rather than symptom
relief only. This new treatment will alleviate patient suffering and remove
the need for long term multiple medications as well as returning the patient
to functional and social independence."
A larger trial with a longer follow-up will be carried out to determine whether
the treatment is reliable, safe and effective in the long term. -- London Telegraph, Dec 22; NHS health news, Dec 23