Acta Ophthalmol.:Stem cells can repair damaged cornea

Transplants of the corneas may be the only way to prevent a patient from going blind, but there is a shortage of donated corneas, so the queues are long. For the first time, scientists from the Sahlgrenska Academy at the university of gothenburg, Sweden, have successfully grown stem cells into human corneas, and in the long term, this may mean that cornea donors are no longer needed.

About 500 corneal transplants are performed annually in Sweden, compared with about 100,000 worldwide. Corneal damage and clouding can blind a patient, but it can be replaced with a healthy, clear cornea. But the process requires a donor cornea, which is in short supply. The same is true around the world, especially where religious or political views often prevent people from using donated corneas.

Replacement and donor corneas

Scientists from the salg institute have taken the first step toward the ultimate goal of replacing donated corneas with stem cell grown corneas. The defective corneas used by scientists Charles Hanson and Ulf Stenev I were obtained from an ophthalmic clinic at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Molndal. Their results were published Acta Ophthalmologica in journals, and show that they first in the laboratory cultivation 16 days then on the cornea after 6 days can let a person stem cells become "epithelial cells (epithelial cell)".

For the first time, stem cells were grown on human corneas

"It is the epithelial cells that keep the cornea clear. Similar experiments have been done in animals, but this is the first time stem cells have been grown on damaged corneas. It represents a first step toward our ultimate goal of being able to use stem cells to treat damaged corneas,” says Charles Hanson. “If we can establish a routine approach to this, we can provide patients who need corneas with an endless supply of new ones. Transplant procedures and postoperative care will also become simpler,” Ulf Stenevi said.

There are only a few clinics that can do corneal transplantation

There are only a few clinics that can do corneal transplantation nowadays. In Sweden, many corneal transplants are performed at the eye clinic of the university of saiginska hospital.
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