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Stem Cells Curing Burn-Induced Blindness 54

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-can-see-clearly-now dept.
mcgrew writes "The AP (via Yahoo) is reporting that Italian researchers can now cure blindness caused by chemical burns using the patient's own stem cells. 'The treatment worked completely in 82 of 107 eyes and partially in 14 others, with benefits lasting up to a decade so far. One man whose eyes were severely damaged more than 60 years ago now has near-normal vision.' Previously, this kind of injury needed either a corneal transplant or stem cells from someone else, both of which are plagued by problems with tissue rejection. Unfortunately, this only works for damaged corneas — so far."
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Stem Cells Curing Burn-Induced Blindness

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  • Too late! (Score:5, Funny)

    by jwriney (16598) on Friday June 25, 2010 @02:45PM (#32695198) Homepage

    Just think - if this had existed a few years ago, they wouldn't have needed to make that godawful Daredevil movie.

    --riney

  • Sweet (Score:4, Funny)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Friday June 25, 2010 @02:46PM (#32695226)
    I'll be the first to say thats pretty freakin awesome. PS don't go to Taiwan and get stem cells injected into your eyes.
    • by Gerafix (1028986)
      You shouldn't go to Taiwan to get injected with anything really.
    • by mobby_6kl (668092)

      It is awesome, but I'm really waiting until they can cure masturbation-induced blindness.

      • I'm waiting for scientists to use stem cells or genetic modification on the hairy palm syndrome so masturbation can be a cure for baldness.
        • by LBt1st (709520)

          I'm waiting for one of these breakthroughs to happen in the US. It seems like every few months there's some leap in stem cell research. I always make it a point to look up where it happened. Never in America. It makes me sad to think while were taking over the world in search for oil, everyone else has learned to be civilized and aid each other.

  • by MrTripps (1306469) on Friday June 25, 2010 @02:48PM (#32695254)
    “These are adult stem cells harvested from perfectly healthy adults. Whom I killed for their stem cells!” - Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth
  • Could anyone elucidate me in the procedure for stem cell extraction? Where do they get those kind of cells on an adult human?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      From TFA: "Nor would it work in people who are completely blind in both eyes, because doctors need at least some healthy tissue that they can transplant." So it comes from the other, healthy eye.

      And I was hoping that it would come from wanking: "It both causes blindness, and cures it too!"

    • by stoanhart (876182) on Friday June 25, 2010 @03:07PM (#32695556)
      RTFA?

      The took them from the rim of the cornea of the unaffected eye, or from unaffected portions if both eyes were damaged.
      • Allright, I will try to be more precise this time: from TFA

        Adult stem cells, which are found around the body, are different from embryonic stem cells, which come from human embryos and have stirred ethical concerns because removing the cells requires destroying the embryos.

        how in hell there are stem cells around on an adult human? I didn't know that there are stem cells on adults. Isn't it true that people freeze umbilical cords in order to guarantee stem cells for the future?

        • Answering my own questions...: Emphasys mine

          The two broad types of mammalian stem cells are: embryonic stem cells that are isolated from the inner cell mass of blastocysts, and adult stem cells that are found in adult tissues. In a developing embryo, stem cells can differentiate into all of the specialized embryonic tissues. In adult organisms, stem cells and progenitor cells act as a repair system for the body, replenishing specialized cells, but also maintain the normal turnover of regenerative organs, such as blood, skin, or intestinal tissues.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_cell

    • by Dyinobal (1427207)
      The first rule of stem cell extraction is we don't talk about stem cell extraction...
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Could anyone elucidate me in the procedure for stem cell extraction? Where do they get those kind of cells on an adult human?

      I think you mean "Could anyone elucidate the procedure" or "Could anyone educate me on the procedure". When elucidate [reference.com] is used with an object, that object is the thing being explained, not the person to whom it is being explained. Oh. And by the way, I don't know anything about stem cells.

  • by Garble Snarky (715674) on Friday June 25, 2010 @02:52PM (#32695330)
    I believe it is well documented that some humans lose almost all ability to process vision information, if they go long enough without it. Surely this depends on the age at which vision is lost, and the duration of the blindness, but the problem of restoring vision processing, for those who have lost it, is significantly harder to solve.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      The brain is probably the most incredible organ in the body, and yes, like your muscles if you don't use it it will atrophe, but it is amazingly resiliant so long as there's no actual damage to it.

      After ten years of my eyes' focusing muscles not being used (in your forties the lens hardens and you need reading glasses) it only took a few months after getting my implant for the focusing muscles to work again. And the brain is the same way; you would have to learn to see again, but you would learn.

    • Functional MRI scanning has shown that areas of the brain normally involved in vision processing has been reallocated in such individuals.

      Coincidentally, I've just finished reading a great book on this very subject: "Crashing Through: A True Story of Risk, Adventure, and the Man Who Dared to See", by Robert Kurdson. He describes Mike May's frustrations with not being able to read or process shadows to determine 3D information after having his sight restored, decades after losing it due to corneal scarring

  • will this help me if I stared into the laser with remaining eye?

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      No, the laser won't hurt your cornea (which is what this fixes) or lens, but it will burn you retina, and so far thay can't fix that (but I can see it happening not too long from now). You might be interested in this journal [slashdot.org] which actually has lasers in an eye, as well as a liquid nitrogen cooled cryotheraputic probe to the eye, as well as needles in the eye.

      There are worse things than lasers. Like supercooled metal probes, needles, and nitrogen bubbles.

  • PLEASE.... (Score:5, Informative)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Friday June 25, 2010 @03:10PM (#32695608)

    Please don't let this be another one of those /. discussions where people conflate generic) stem cell therapy with embryonic stem cell therapy.

    Many Christian's oppose the latter, and almost none is against the former.

    I'm not even a Christian and I'm *&*#$# tired of the BS that comes from confusing the two positions. Seeing people attack straw men is annoying after the millionth time.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by city (1189205)
      Stem cells are being shown to work in the few areas scientists are funded to study them. I dont think its a straw man argument to say that the religious zealots are stopping people with other conditions from being helped. If you want to split the generic/embryonic hairs here, that is your problem.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by interkin3tic (1469267)

      Many Christian's oppose the latter, and almost none is against the former.

      I'm not even a Christian and I'm *&*#$# tired of the BS that comes from confusing the two positions. Seeing people attack straw men is annoying after the millionth time.

      If you hate straw men, this is really the wrong place for you, it's kind of all we do here, be it on MS, stem cells, or car metaphors. You'll probably also want to avoid the "wizard of oz fanclub page."

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by mattack2 (1165421)

      Many Christian's oppose the latter

      Please don't let this be another one of those /. discussions where people don't know how to use an apostrophe properly.

    • Seeing people attack straw men is annoying after the millionth time.

      Can we please just stick to arguing the unprovable question about whether all these breakthroughs with coerced non-embryonic stem cells would have happened if Bush hadn't enacted the Federal funding ban?

      (though to be fair, those who argued that all useful stem cell research would go overseas were clearly wrong)

  • Did anyone else read 'Bum' instead of 'Burn' in the headline?
  • Can this be used to restore corneas affected by cataracts?

  • by FrankDrebin (238464) on Friday June 25, 2010 @05:14PM (#32697328) Homepage
    Finally a cure for those of us who applied industrial strength eye bleach after clicking on goatse in 1999.
  • Is anyone working on treatments (stem cells, carbon nanotubes,
    magic fairy dust, whatever...) for repairing a wrinkled retina?
    (It detached, and the fine surgeon didn't get it reattached smoothly,
    so that eye is like trying to look through textured privacy glass.)

    For the optical wizards out there, what would it take to make
    eyeglasses that can correct extreme myopia without changing
    the magnification? Would a multiple element lens be able to
    do this?

    For those of you with extreme myopia, you are at higher risk fo

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