Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Adult stem cells repair corneal blindness

Here is a tidy NSW application of our ever-versatile adult stem cells.


Corneal regeneration in humans has been around for some years using adult stem cells, but here a simple contact lens is used as the vehicle for applying the stem cells to the damaged surface.


Safe, cheap, and obviously "non-controversial", as Loane Skene (of the Lockhart Committee on human cloning and embryo research) points out.


To use cloning or embryos to obtain stem cells would not only be controversial, it would be plain stupid – as the cells are so second-rate: lacking the perfect immune match of our own stem cells, and likely to provoke tumours (and of course the exact same concern of tumours applies even to iPS cells).


Behold the future (and the present) of safe and effective stem-cell therapy: our own, simple, non-controversial cells.


Full story at: http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25549740-36398,00.html


COATING a common contact lens with stem cells could help restore a person's sight, Australian scientists have found.

University of New South Wales medical researchers used the technique to treat the damaged corneas of three patients, all of whose vision improved within weeks of the groundbreaking procedure. The results are published in the journal Transplant.

Stem cells were harvested from the eyes of each patient and then cultured inside a contact lens, which was then stuck onto a damaged cornea in a "transplant'' of regenerative cells.

"The procedure is totally simple and cheap,'' said the university's Dr Nick Di Girolamo. The procedure could be replicated in third would countries by a surgeon with a laboratory for cell culture, Dr Di Girolamo said.

It offered hope to people with a range of blinding eye conditions, he said, and there was also the possibility of adapting the technique to repair skin which behaved in a similar way to the eye.

The stem cell procedure was considered non-controversial, said former Deputy Chair of the Lockhart Committee on human cloning and embryo research Professor Loane Skene.