Contact lenses like eye dress: this is an invention for the treatment of eye lesions. Developed by Australian researchers, this lens has eye-tissue donor cells that can treat the surface of the eye of the one who uses it.
Donor cells and human placenta
Researchers at the Eye Institute in Kueensland use cells that are called mesenchymal stromal cells (L-MSC) from a third party. These cells are deposited on the surface of the eye through a special type of contact lens called a scleral lens. As for collecting donor cells, professor and author of the study, Damien Harkin, states that these are "readily available from tissues that are usually discarded after systemic corneal transplantation."
The lens will also be composed of amniotic membranes taken directly from the human placenta. This helps to combat inflammation and promote healing. "Based on preliminary data, we believe that donor cells release a number of wound healing factors that improve eye surface repair," says Damien Harkin.
Lenses with therapeutic virtues
Researchers hope that this therapeutic lens will help treat patients suffering from "chronic conditions such as corneal ulcers and persistent surface defects that have not responded to conventional therapies," said Damien Harkin. In addition, the new treatment may be able to treat acute oxalic lesions resulting from exposure to caustic chemicals, hot liquids or excessive heat.
The problem, for now, lies in an amniotic membrane that has variable properties both in and between donor tissue samples. This membrane is currently imported from New Zealand, which postpones treatment and increases costs. "We suggest that the bank of well-labeled and tested donor cells L-MSC be a more reliable and economical source of growth factors to quickly repair the eye," says Harkin.
Discovery for clinical confirmation
For now, this lens is not commercialized. Clinical trials must be conducted to confirm its therapeutic virtues and make them available to patients. However, Professor Damien Harkin is convinced and hopes that this treatment will be available to patients in the coming years.
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