Japanese scientists transplant human cornea from reprogrammed stem cells

September 30, 2019  13:25

The world's first human cornea transplant has been performed in Japan, which was grown from induced pluripotent stem cells, and was not borrowed from a deceased donor, Nature reported.

Ophthalmologist Kohji Nishida from Osaka University, Japan, said the woman has a disease in which the stem cells that repair the cornea, a transparent layer that covers and protects the eye, are lost. The condition makes vision blurry and can lead to blindness.

The use of donor material is accompanied by a number of specific difficulties, due to which only in Japan there are more than one and a half thousand people who are waiting for transplant surgery. Using cornea grown from stem cells can solve the waiting problem.

The first person who received a cornea transplant obtained from the descendants of induced pluripotent stem cells was a 40-year-old Japanese woman. The woman suffered from a disease called reticular dysgenesis of the corneal epithelium in the form of impaired corneal transparency. After surgery, the patient’s vision improved significantly.

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