A recent US study has revealed that stem cells from the umbilical cord could be used to effectively treat people who have impaired vision as a result of cloudy cornea. For the sake of research, the team used human stream cells to treat laboratory rodent with very thin and cloudy corneas and reached the study's conclusion.
The study was conducted at the University of Cincinnati, and used "human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells", which have the ability to become any one of a huge range of adult cell types, to treat mice which had been deliberately bred to "lack a protein essential for the formation and maintenance of a transparent cornea".
The transparent front part of the eye, the cornea protects the sensitive structures underneath the eye and helps focus light, but it can be often damaged by an injury or a disease to become cloudy, hampering vision and calling for a transplant. Corneas for transplant, however, are in very short supply, and the study has presented cues to develop on and come up with a much needed alternative.
"These findings have the potential to create new and better treatments and an improved quality of life for patients with vision loss due to corneal injury", said lead researcher Dr. Winston Kao.
Details of the study were presented at an American Society for Cell Biology conference.