Stem Cells logoLSCD is known to be a painful, blinding disease that seems to need a long-term an expensive treatment. It also requires frequent visits to the clinic and intensive hospital admissions.

A latest study by experts at the North East England Stem Cell Institute (NESCI) shows the first ever successful treatment of Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency (LSCD) patients. The eight subjects involved were apparently treated with their own stem cells and did not need suppression of their immunity.

Investigators share that loss of vision due to LSCD not only makes it expensive but also seems to need social support. This is mainly because of the serious effect of it on the patients’ life quality. Additionally, it seems to be enlarged by the fact that LSCD has been observed t usually affect young individuals.

Dr. Francisco Figueiredo, a member of the NESCI team,
mentioned, “Corneal cloudiness has been estimated to cause blindness in 8 million people (10% of total blindness) worldwide each year. A large number of ocular surface diseases, both acquired and congenital, share features of partial or complete LSCD.” Chemical burns to the eye are the most common cause of LSCD. ”

Professor Lako commented, “This study demonstrates that transplantation of cultured corneal stem cells without the use of animal cells or products is a safe and effective method of reconstructing the corneal surface and restoring useful sight in patients with unilateral LSCD. This research shows promise to help hundreds of people regain their sight. These exciting results offer a new treatment and hope for people with LSCD.”

Professor Michael Whitaker FMedSci, Co-Director of NESCI, which is a collaboration between Durham and Newcastle Universities, Newcastle NHS Foundation Trust and other partners, added, “Stem cells from bone marrow have been used successfully for many years to treat cancer and immune disease, but this is the first successful stem cell therapy using stem cells from the eye without animal products to treat disease, an important step towards the clinic. Because the early results look so promising, we are thinking hard now about how to bring this treatment rapidly into the clinic as we complete the necessary clinical trials, so that the treatment can be shared with all patients that might benefit.”

Apparently the team has got pretty interesting results in the patients who underwent stem cell transplants for reparation of the cornea’s surface. The results may allow a stem cell therapy type to be applied routinely for treatment of a kind of blindness shares Professor Robin Ali, FMedSci, Department of Genetics, UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, London.

Presently a larger study that includes 24 new patients is underway.

The study has been published in the journal Stem Cells.