British scientists have made a breakthrough in stem cell research by restoring vision to those who suffer from blindness in one eye caused by injury or disease. The procedure has been carried out on a handful of volunteers including Russell Turnbull who lost vision in one eye after being attacked on a bus with ammonia fifteen years ago. Russell reports that he "has his life back" thanks to this revolutionary operation.
The procedure, which is the first of its kind not to use animal products, involves growing stems cells from the patient's good eye before transferring them to the damaged eye. The technique also avoids using drugs to suppress the immune system response because the patient's own implanted cells are not treated as foreign invaders by the antibodies in their blood. Once implanted the good cells can't be rejected, and the previously damaged eye begins to function as normal.
The overwhelming positive results of this technique sheds hope on thousands who have had their vision damaged by accidents and disease, including corneal cloudiness. It also opens the door to further stem cell research on physical ailments against the human body.
Image: "The Eye" by DarthLen on Flickr courtesy of Creative Commons Licensing.Tweet