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Stem Cells Restore Sight For Corneal Disease Patients 223

Posted by timothy
from the soon-it'll-be-saline-&-stem-cell-solution dept.
Sean0michael writes "Australian scientists have restored the sight of three human test subjects using stem cells cultured in contact lenses. All the patients were blind in only one eye. Two were legally blind, but can now read the big letters on an eye chart. The third could read the first few lines, but is now able to pass a driver's test. The University of New South Wales reports that these patients all had damaged corneas, and the stem cells came from each person's good eye. The best part: the procedure is inexpensive, raising hopes for being able to push this to the third world sooner than other, more expensive medications."
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Stem Cells Restore Sight For Corneal Disease Patients

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  • Types of stem cells (Score:5, Interesting)

    by oneirophrenos (1500619) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @04:44PM (#28215429)

    The article doesn't go into very much detail on what the stem cells really were or how the were produced, so I assume what they refer to as "stem cells" are really multipotent stem cells (or so-called progenitor cells [wikipedia.org]), rather than the pluripotent stem cells that are obtained from the embryo and that can differentiate into any adult tissue. Multipotent stem cells are found in many regenenerating tissues, such as epithelia and bone marrow, but it should be noted that they are not stem cells in the sense that they would retain the ability to differentiate into any cell type.

  • I'm THRILLED by this (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Xaedalus (1192463) <Xaedalys AT yahoo DOT com> on Thursday June 04, 2009 @05:00PM (#28215627)
    I had Lasik done when I was 20, back in the late 90s. Six good years of eyesight later, I started to develop an abnormality in my right now. Now, in my early thirties, I've been diagnosed with keratoconus in my right eye, and I might possibly have it in my left. While Lasik doesn't explicitly cause keratoconus, we also didn't know back in the 90's that some people might have corneas with hidden defects that might not take too well to a laser shaving off a couple of layers. So if they can come up with a way to take stem cells and create whole new corneas to replace damaged ones, then I for one will be anxiously awaiting the day when it becomes available in the United States (about ten years from now most likely, given the FDA's restrictions). I'd like to have normal eyes again, and not worry about one day having to undergo a corneal transplant. So this is AWESOME that they can do that. More power to stem cell research!!!!
  • Any numbers? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gringofrijolero (1489395) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @05:03PM (#28215673) Journal

    Inexpensive? That's a very relative term..

  • Re:!embroyonic (Score:3, Interesting)

    by harryandthehenderson (1559721) on Thursday June 04, 2009 @05:56PM (#28216225)

    I guess you failed reading class as well: "The tests could begin by summer, said Dr. Thomas Okarma, president and CEO of the Geron Corporation." You can't restore locomotion in patients from a test that hasn't been done yet.

    Did you read what I posted? This study was being done based off the work of a previous trial. Here [jneurosci.org] is the trial that was done that precedes the FDA-approved study.

    Human Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Cell Transplants Remyelinate and Restore Locomotion after Spinal Cord Injury

    Way to fail.

    And you're a real idiot if you think that the base work in embryonic stem cells has led to anything other than cancer.

    HAHAHAHAHAHA. That's a good one.

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