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Friday, 18 June 2010 23:06

Blind patients see again with their own stem cells

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According to a report from Italian researchers, patients that had been blinded in either eye, or both eyes, had regained their vision after their own healthy stem cells were removed and then re-implanted.

 


Dr. Graziella Pellegrini, from the Center for Regenerataive Medicine at the University of Modena (Modena, Italy), led the research study.

The procedure restored the eyesight of over three out of four of the blinded patients, with 112 patients in all.

When a single transplant procedure was performed, sight was regained in about 69% of the cases. When a second procedure was performed the success rate went up to 77%.

In addition, the procedure was said to be a partial success in 13% of the cases, but failed in 10% of them.

Dr. Pellegrini (profile) presented a report about the study at a conference of about 4,000 stem cell researchers, sponsored by the International Society for Stem Cell Research. The conference is being the weekend of Friday, June 18, 2010, in San Francsico, California.

According to the June 18, 2010 Bloomberg/Business Week article Stem Cells From Own Eyes Restore Vision to Blinded Patients, 'The tissue was drawn from the limbus, an area at the junction of the cornea and white part of the eye.'

Page two continues with more from the Bloomberg article.

 

 



And the Bloomberg article continues with, 'It [tissue] was grown on a fibrous tissue, then layered onto the damaged eyes. The cells grew into healthy corneal tissue, transforming disfigured, opaque eyes into functioning ones with normal appearance and color'¦.'

After the stem cells were re-planted into the eye, the patients were studied for an average of three years, sometimes for up to ten years.

Dr. Pellegrini stated in the Bloomberg article, 'The patients, they are happy, even the partial successes. We have a couple of patients who were blind in both eyes. Can you imagine for these patients the change in their quality of life?'

Please read the Bloomberg/Businessweek article for additional details of the study.

 

 

Why is this research such a big deal? The Bloomberg article concludes with: "The applications of the work may extend to other organs....This is bigger than just the surface of the eye.... She [Dr. Pellegrini] may be making a model for how to regenerate livers or other organs.'

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