Russell Turnbull, a "have-a-go" hero who was, about 15 years back, blinded in one eye as the result of a chemical attack, has gained his sight back after undergoing a stem cell treatment, in a development which many have designated as "miraculous".
38 year old Mr. Turnbull was one of the 8 patients with impaired eye sight who have been treated with a pioneering stem cell therapy successfully, and the procedure made use of their own stem cells. The technique is currently being developed by scientists and eye doctors at the North East England Stem Cell Institute.
In 1994, following a night out in Newcastle, Mr. Turnball was attacked on his way home when he intervened to break a heated argument that had erupted on the bus which he had boarded to get back home. One of the angry men began squirting ammonia around the bus, and it hit Mr. Turnball in right eye.
The ammonia caused major damage to the cornea stem cells and left him with a condition known as Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency, which is a painful and blinding eye disease. Its treatment is expensive and patients require repeated clinic visits and long hospital admissions.
In such a scenario, especially since LSCD affects mostly younger patients, the success of the treatment is being viewed as one of the most important medical breakthroughs of the modern times.