University of New South Wales (UNSW) researchers have revealed that they have successfully restored vision in blind patients with corneal disease by giving them their own stem cells cultured on a contact lens.
Researchers used a therapeutic contact lens to culture the stem cells. This was then placed onto the damaged corneas for 10 days during which the cells spread out on the surface of the damaged cornea.
"The procedure is totally simple and cheap," said study author, UNSW's Nick Di Girolamo. "Unlike other techniques, it requires no foreign human or animal products, only the patient's own serum, and is completely non-invasive. There's no suturing, there is no major operation: all that's involved is harvesting a minute amount less than a millimetre of tissue from the ocular surface."
The details of the study are published this week in the journal Transplantation.