University of New South Wales (UNSW) medical researchers have used stem cells cultured on a simple contact lens to restore sight to sufferers of blinding corneal disease. Stem cells from the patients’ own eyes were cultured on a common therapeutic contact lens which was then placed onto the damaged cornea for 10 days.
“The procedure is totally simple and cheap,” said lead author of the study, UNSW’s Dr Nick Di Girolamo.
“There’s no suturing, there is no major operation: all that’s involved is harvesting a minute amount – less than a millimeter – of tissue from the ocular surface,”
The researchers are hopeful the technique can be adapted for use in other parts of the eye, such as the retina, and even in other organs. “If we can do this procedure in the eye, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work in other major organs such as the skin, which behaves in a very similar way to the cornea,” Dr Di Girolamo said.
Source: University of New South Wales