Thin sheets of cheek tissue can be used to replace the damaged corneas of people blinded by certain eye diseases, Japanese researchers reported.
Their findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, may offer new routes to restoring damaged vision and perhaps also for engineering other types of grow-your-own tissue transplants.
Dr. Kohji Nishida of Osaka University Medical School and colleagues successfully transplanted thin layers of cheek cells onto the eyes of four patients with a rare and painful &to=http://english.pravda.ru/science/ 19/94/379/10734_introscopy.html' target=_blank>eye condition that clouded their corneas, repots Reuters.
According to BBC a team from Osaka University transplanted thin layers of cheek cells onto the eyes of four patients with a rare and painful eye condition. Doctors can take cells from a healthy eye and grow them in a dish to produce a new cornea, or they can transplant corneas from donors.
But these techniques may not work when both eyes are too badly damaged by accident or disease.
The Osaka team worked with four patients who had Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a painful condition which causes cloudy corneas and dry eyes.
And Dr. Ivan R. Schwab, a professor of ophthalmology at the University of California at Davis who has done research on culturing corneal epithelial cells, is even more cautious.
"I'd like to see it replicated, and I'd like to see it stand the test of time," Schwab said.