The artificial stem cell cornea was first transplanted to humans

We have repeatedly informed you about successes.scientists in the field of stem cell use (if you are interested in such news, we recommend subscribing to our Telegram channel). However, trials of new technology in humans are not so frequent. At the same time, scientists are developing more and more new methods of using stem cells. And one of these not only recently successfully passed the first tests on a person, but also can enter into medical practice in the not very distant future. This is the first-ever transplant of an artificial cornea created from stem cells.

Without the cornea, our organ of vision cannot exist

Why is the cornea so important?

The cornea (or iris) isan extremely important component for our perception of the world around us. This is one of the most necessary "elements" of the eye. In simple terms, the cornea is essentially a lens. If we draw an analogy with the camera, then the cornea is the lens of the camera. The cornea collects and focuses in the right direction light rays that are already perceived by other parts of the visual analyzer. That is why the “failure” of the cornea carries the danger of complete loss of vision.

How stem cells help restore vision

According to Nature magazine, during the reportAt an ophthalmological conference in late August, ophthalmologist Koji Nishida of Osaka University (Japan) said that one of his patients (whose name was not disclosed) was the first person in the world to be reconstructed with reprogrammed stem cells. Dr. Nishida also said that his patient suffered from a disease in which corneal cells lost transparency and died off. This first causes the “blurring” of contours and objects, and then a complete loss of vision. Usually, donor cornea taken from recently deceased people is used to treat such conditions. But in this case, the doctors decided to do otherwise.

See also: A new type of cell has been discovered that can save thousands of lives. And these are not stem cells

In order to cure a woman, Nishida and histhe team used induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells). These are cells that, by reprogramming skin cells, transform into an embryonic state, from which they can then be transformed into other types of cells. Including the cells of the cornea. Scientists have grown a new cornea from iPS cells, which they transplanted to the patient. The operation itself was carried out in early August, but rehabilitation took 3 weeks, after which the woman returned her vision. Now nothing threatens her eyesight.

Stages of corneal transplantation

It is worth noting that this is not the first case.use of stem cells by Japanese doctors. They were previously used to treat spinal cord injuries. Work is also underway in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. As for this case, after a successful operation, the Ministry of Health of Japan allowed Mr. Nishida to test the procedure on four more volunteers. The next operation is planned for the end of this year, and the proven procedure, which can be used for universal treatment, according to the scientist, should appear in five years.