Page URL:

World's first transplanted cornea made from stem cells is success

9 September 2019
Appeared in BioNews 1014

A team in Japan has successfully carried out the world's first transplant of corneal tissue made from human iPS induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The patient's vision has improved considerably, said researchers.

Professor Kohji Nishida, an ophthalmologist at Osaka University, and colleagues announced their results at a press conference at the campus in Suita, Osaka Prefecture last week.

The patient, a woman in her forties, left hospital on 23 August following surgery on 25 July. 'It's been just a month, but right now we see the operation as a success,' said Professor Nishida, according to The Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

'After the operation, her clouded cornea became transparent and her vision has improved considerably,' he added. 'We'll continue to monitor her condition to see if it stays that way.'

The woman has a condition known as corneal epithelial stem cell deficiency, which means that she has lost the stem cells in her eyes that replace damaged cells in the cornea. If dead or damaged cells in the cornea – the thin transparent tissue that protects the eye – are not replaced, this can lead to blurred vision and blindness.

The procedure involved using a 0.03-0.05 millimetre thick sheet of human iPSCs to grow corneal cells and then transplanting these into the woman's left eye.

'We have only conducted the first operation and we are continuing to monitor the patient carefully,' Professor Nishida said, according to the Japan Times.

The team has government approval to carry out the procedure on three more patients, and plans to carry out another transplant this year.

Corneal transplants from deceased donors are used to treat the condition. Currently, about 1600 patients in Japan are on the waiting list for a corneal transplant.

Osaka team pulls off cornea cell transplant using human iPS cells
The Asahi Shimbun |  30 August 2019
Osaka University team conducts world's first iPS transplant for corneal disease
The Japan Times |  29 August 2019
Woman Receives First Corneal Transplant Made from iPS Cells
The Scientist |  3 September 2019
Woman regains sight after corneal transplant from stem cells
The Times |  31 August 2019
13 September 2021 - by Dr Helen Robertson 
Blood stem cell transplants do not lead to changes in the DNA of the transplanted cells, a discovery demonstrating their safety has shown...
2 March 2020 - by Dr Hannah Somers 
A clinical trial using gene therapy for treating a common cause of genetic blindness published positive results in Nature Medicine...
20 January 2020 - by Emma Laycock 
A new study suggests that rare harmful mutations in young healthy donors' stems cells can be passed on to recipients of stem cell transplants, potentially leading to health problems...
16 September 2019 - by Dr Yvonne Collins 
Scientists have developed a new device that uses iPSCs to create the most advanced artificial model of early human embryo development...
4 February 2019 - by Paul Waldron 
Stem cells taken from dead donors have been used to restore the damaged surface of the eye in a clinical trial, which researchers say is the first of its kind...
2 March 2015 - by Ana Ilic 
The European Commission has given conditional marketing approval to a stem-cell-based therapy for the first time...
2 March 2015 - by Daryl Ramai 
Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh, USA, have shown in mice that stem cells from the dental pulp, the inner part of the tooth made of tissue and cells, can be turned into cells of the eye's cornea...
6 October 2014 - by Dr Greg Ball 
A pool of stem cells found on the surface of the eye can be used to form light-sensitive cells that could one day treat blindness, researchers have reported...
7 July 2014 - by Dr Daniel Grimes 
In one of the first experiments to grow tissue from adult stem cells, scientists have grown corneas in the lab...
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.