Sight-restoring cornea cells grow in the lab for first time in transplant breakthrough
- The lab grown corneal cells could help prevent the need for corneal transplants
- In the US, 33,000 people per year undergo corneal transplant surgery
- The surgery replaces diseased corneas – the clear tissue that protects the eyes
- But this new research could allow scientists to inject corneal cells into the eye
- It could help people in countries where there is a shortage of donor eye tissue By CECILE BORKHATARIA FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
Stanford University researchers have grown corneal cells in a lab – which could help prevent the need for corneal transplants.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about 33,000 people in the US undergo corneal transplant surgery every year to replace disease and injured corneas – the usually clear tissue that protects the eye and helps focus light.
But this new research could allow scientists to inject corneal cell directly into the eye, which could help people in developing countries where there is a shortage of donor eye tissue.
According to The Mercury News, millions of corneal cells are being grown at Stanford’s new Laboratory for Cell and Gene Medicine in Palo Alto.
Growing the cells requires a donor cornea to contribute ‘parent cells’.
‘One of the exciting possibilities of this cellular approach is that one donor cornea can generate enough cells to treat tens or hundreds of patients,’ said lead researcher Dr. Jeffrey Goldberg, professor and chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
According to the NIH, in uncomplicated corneal transplants surgeries, the failure rate is less than ten per cent, but in high risk patients, failure rates are greater than 50 per cent.
Some researchers have been trying to grow corneas from scratch without donor cells by attaching a fragile film of cells to a membrane, but the method is challenging problem.
But Stanford’s new method grows individual cells by using corneal cells donated from a cadaver.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4418818/Stanford-lab-grows-cornea-cells-time.html#ixzz4fAQxRV1L
Source: Daily Mail