A stem cell therapy patented by Sankara Nethralaya and Nichiin Bio Sciences of Japan may help treat patients with corneal ulcers and other eye conditions like Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.
A synthetic material called Mebiol Gel was used as a scaffold to grow corneal stem cells from a rabbit. The gel actually aided in the multiplication of cells and prevents rejection of the new cells. The stem cells are then harvested and placed in a refrigerator after which they are injected into the eyes of the rabbits when needed.
"The cells that are cultivated within the Mebiol Gel can be used for therapeutic purposes, instead of human tissues like the amniotic membrane," said Dr H N Madhavan, President, Vision Research Foundation, and Director and Professor of Microbiology, Sankara Nethralaya. "We received a patent in July for the process... It was a great struggle to get the patent, with challenges posed by many countries... and the next step is to take up human trial."
The price of the procedure is yet to be decided, but Dr Madhavan said the Gel costs Rs 5,000.