Monday, July 7, 2014

Eye Regeneration

There are many people around the world who are diagnosed with blindness due to accidents, disease, and chemical injuries.  Some even experience partial blindness from cataracts and glaucoma.  In the past tissue or cell transplants have been used to restore the cornea.  The problem with this method is that the end result is not successful.  New research has been conducted on limbal stem cells and a molecule known as ABCB5 with results proving that it is possible to regrow human corneal tissue to restore vision.
Restored functional cornea

Limbal stem cells are rare and have the ability to maintain and regenerate eye tissue. Researchers used antibodies to detect the ABCB5 molecule in stem cells of deceased donors, (those who donated their body to science for research), and then regrew functional human corneas in mice.  The mice who did not have functional ABCB5 molecule had a loss in limbal stem cells and their corneas did not heal properly.  That finding alone shows that ABCB5 is essential to the survival and maintenance of the limbal stem cells. 

The current research is the first known example of creating a tissue from an adult human stem cell! This is an example of how basic research is moving in the direction of transplants and more advanced processes.  With this finding corneal restoration can be completed more easily and those people around the world who suffer from blindness may have a chance to restore their own vision. I find this research to be impactful and gives hope for a future where more tissue restoration can be completed.

To read the full article and how the researchers conducted their study click here: Researchers regrow corneas, first known tissue grown from an adult human stem cell