Induced Pluripotent Cells for Corneal Blindness
A team led by ophthalmologist Kohji Nishida at Osaka University plans to treat damaged corneas using sheets of tissue made from induced pluripotent stem cells. These are created by reprogramming cells from a donor into an embryonic-like state that can then transform into other tissue, such as corneal cells. Nishida’s team plans to lay 0.05-millimetre-thick sheets of corneal cells across patients’ eyes. Animal studies have shown that this can save or restore vision. Approval has been sought from the Ministry of Health Japan.
Other Japanese researchers have carried out clinical studies using induced pluripotent stem cells to treat spinal cord injury, Parkinson's disease and another eye disease.