The Cornea– the outermost layer in the human eye, plays an important role in regulating the amount of light entering into the eye. It also protects the eye from germs, dust, and other harmful matter. Although this important part of the human body has a countless number of ways to get damaged. Corneal Abrasions, Dry eyes, Keratitis, Ocular herpes, corneal dystrophies, Keratoconus, etc. are some of the diseases that alter cornea terribly. These can also be destroyed by burns, trauma, or chemical radiations. At present, the corneas from donors are transplanted to the patients suffering from the diseased corneas. But there is always a chance of mismatching, autoimmune reactions, and unavailability of quality tissues.
But now there is a possibility of restoring corneas with the help of STEM CELL THERAPY.
A Japanese committee lead by the Researchers at the Osaka University recently have proposed the idea to treat corneas that have been damaged, using Stem cell therapy. A sheet of tissues of induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSC) reprogrammed from donor cells into embryonic cells and then are transferred into the receiver. However, the theory is yet to be approved.
This isn’t a new domain for Japan. Japan has been proving its stronghold in stem cell and regenerative medicine research for long now. This could be due to the fact that Nobel Laureate Shinya Yamanaka who hailed from Japan invented Stem cell research. Earlier a team studies the IPSC-based retinal pigmented epithelial cell therapy to treat macular degeneration which solely affects the retina. Opinion pieces and researches to use stem cell therapy to treat spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease and Paralysis also exist.
Although Japan is touching new heights in healthcare and regenerative medicine research but how will it manage to get rid of the stigma attached is one legitimate question.