Saturday, March 12, 2016
Eye Grows Lens after Cataract Surgery
“A new study describes a pioneering new cataract treatment - tested in animals and in a small trial with human patients - where, after the cloudy lens is removed, the eye grows a new lens from its own stem cells,” according to a Medical News Today post. “The researchers - including teams from the University of California-San Diego (UCSD), Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou and Sichuan University, both in China - describe their new regenerative medicine approach in a paper published in the journal Nature. The treatment was tested in 12 babies born with cataracts. It resulted in significantly fewer surgical complications than current treatments, say the researchers. Sight was improved in all 12 patients. In the new study, the team used the ability of stem cells to grow new tissue. They did not use the more common approach - where stem cells are taken out of the patient, grown in the lab and then put back in the patient. This method can introduce disease and raise the risk of immune rejection. Instead, the team coaxed stem cells in the patients' eyes to regrow the lenses. So-called endogenous stem cells are stem cells that are naturally already in place, ready to regenerate new tissue in the case of injury or some other problem. In the case of the human eye, the endogenous stem cells - known as lens epithelial stem cells (LECs) - generate replacement lens cells throughout a person's life, although production wanes with age.” Read more.