World Bulletin / News Desk
Researchers have been able to hunt down elusive cells in the eye capable of regeneration and repair using key tracer molecules.
They were able to create fully functioning corneas by transplanting regenerative cells into mice.
It is written in the journal Nature that this method may one day help restore the sight of victims of burns and chemical injuries.
Limbal stem cells (LSC) are crucial for healthy eyesight - these cells work to maintain, repair and completely renew our corneas every few weeks.
Deficiencies of these cells due to disease or damage through injury to the eye are among the commonest reasons behind blindness worldwide.
However the cells have so far been extremely difficult to identify.
Researchers have been able to tag these cells with fluorescent molecular flags.
Prof Markus Frank, of Boston Children's Hospital, a lead author in the research, told the BBC: " The main significance for human disease is we have established a molecularly defined population of cells that we can extract from donor tissue.
"And these cells have the remarkable ability to self-regenerate. We hope to drive this research forward so this can be used as a therapy."
Harminder Dua, professor of ophthalmology at the University of Nottingham, who was not involved in this study, said: "This paper represents a very comprehensive and well conducted piece of work that takes use closer to the precise identification of stem cells.
"Applying this knowledge to a clinical setting could help improve the outcomes for patients who need corneal reconstruction.Last Mod: 03 Temmuz 2014, 14:22