Friday, June 25, 2010

Stem Cells Used to Reverse Blindness Caused by Burns.....

Italian researchers reported Wednesday that dozens of people who were blinded or otherwise suffered severe eye damage when they were splashed with caustic chemicals had their sight restored with transplants of their own stem cells! That’s an amazing success for the burgeoning stem cell-therapy field.

And NO (not a single) embryonic stem cells were used!

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.

The study was published online by the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers in Italy took a small number of stem cells from a patient's healthy eye, multiplied them in the lab and placed them into the burned eye, where they were able to grow new corneal tissue to replace what had been damaged. Since the stem cells are from their own bodies, the patients do not need to take anti-rejection drugs.

Adult stem cells have been used for decades to cure blood cancers such as leukemia and diseases like sickle cell anemia. But fixing a problem like damaged eyes is a relatively new use.

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