The Culture and Transplantation of Human Limbal Stem Cells (Pages: 0-0)


Sajjad Ahmad *,

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The cornea is the clear front of the eye and is important for the transmission of light to the retina at the back of the eye for visual perception. The surface of the cornea is composed of an epithelium and this is maintained by stem cells located at the edge of the cornea, in a region known as the limbus. These so-called limbal stem cells can be lost, most commonly from chemical burns to the eye, resulting in the painful and blinding disease of limbal stem cell deficiency. In this disease, the normal corneal epithelium cannot be maintained and the corneal surface becomes covered by the surrounding phenotypically different conjunctival epithelium and its blood vessels. Recent advances have enabled us to treat severe limbal stem cell deficiency using culture expanded human limbal epithelium. Original culture techniques for human limbal epithelium require the use of animal cells or products within the culture system. We have developed an animal cell and product free culture system for human limbal epithelium. We are currently performing clinical trials on patients with unilateral limbal stem cell deficiency by transplanting autologous animal free cultured limbal epithelium. Using objective and subjective outcome parameters, the results from this ongoing trial seem promising to date.