Adult stem cells restore sight

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


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