Japanese scientists perform the first-ever transplant using reprogrammed stem cells to treat corneal damage.

Generally, people with damaged or disease corneas are treated using donor tissue. However, there is a very long waiting list for donor tissue, especially in Japan. This is why Japanese scientists are motivated to find alternative methods to battle eye damage.

In this current study published in Nature journals, a Japanese woman in her 40’s has become the first-ever recipient of reprogrammed stem cells made in the lab. Researchers replaced her cornea, the outermost layer in the eye that covers and protects it, with sheets of corneal cells made from induced pluripotent stem cells (aka iPS cells). The lead scientist Nishida reported an improvement in the woman’s vision since her transplant just a month ago.

Reference: 

Nature news.Woman is first to receive cornea made from ‘reprogrammed’ stem cells. doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-02597-2.