In a world-first breakthrough, 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.
Sight was significantly improved within weeks of the procedure, which is simple, inexpensive and requires a minimal hospital stay.
The research team from UNSW’s School of Medical Sciences harvested stem cells from patients’ own eyes to rehabilitate the damaged cornea. The stem cells were cultured on a common therapeutic contact lens which was then placed onto the damaged cornea for 10 days, during which the cells were able to re-colonise the damaged eye surface.
While the novel procedure was used to rehabilitate damaged corneas, the researchers say it offers hope to people with a range of blinding eye conditions and could have applications in other organs…
“The procedure is totally simple and cheap,” said lead author of the study, UNSW’s Dr Nick Di Girolamo. “Unlike other techniques, it requires no foreign human or animal products, only the patient’s own serum, and is completely non-invasive.
“The operation is relatively non-invasive. The patient merely comes into the hospital for a couple of hours to have their eye prepared and the lens put in place, and then they’re able to go home,” said Dr Stephanie Watson.
“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,” said Dr Di Girolamo.
Bravo for UNSW! I wonder if they had appropriate approval from the Eye God and his seventeen special churches.
I know, I know. Point is – so much of this kind of research has been dispersed and delayed because of eight years of faith-based mumbo-jumbo getting in the way of scientific research in the center of the self-important world.