Human corneal tissue is highly organized in a structure which contributes to its transparency. If that structure is disrupted by injury, infections or genetic diseases, the resulting corneal scarring can create permanent vision loss. Transplanted tissue from cadaver donors can improve sight, but it can fail due to rejection of the foreign tissue...and there is a worldwide shortage of donor eyes.
RPB-supported research (abstract) has demonstrated that adult dental pulp cells, taken from pulled teeth, can be grown on nano substrates, creating highly organized corneal stromal-like tissue (see image) with the potential for personalized therapies to treat corneal blindness.
"Shortages of donor corneas and rejection of donor tissue do occur, which can result in permanent vision loss," according to James Funderburgh, PhD, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Pittsburgh. "Our work is promising because using the patient's own cells for treatment could help us avoid these problems."
February 24, 2015