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Stem cells treatment helps regain eyesight

2009-12-23 10:54 BJT

BEIJING, Dec. 23 (Xinhuanet) -- A new stem cell treatment has cured eight people who had nearly lost their eyesight in the English city of Newcastle, according to news reports on Wednesday.

Russell Turnbull, one of the cured patients whose right eye was burned in an ammonia attack after intervening in a fight on a Newcastle bus 15 years ago, said, "This has transformed my life...I'm working, I can go jet skiing and also ride horses."

Doctors experimented on a treatment at the North East England Stem Cell Institute in Newcastle, in which stem cells were taken from Turnbull's healthy eye and grown on a layer of amniotic tissue. When the cells had covered the membrane, a piece of it was transplanted onto his damaged eye.

Seven to eight weeks later, the membrane had broken down, leaving his damaged eye with a fresh material of healthy stem cells, which repaired the cornea.

Six month later, eye tests showed Turnbull's eyesight was as good as it had been before the attack.

The scientist named Sajjad Ahmad, who developed the Newcastle method, said its success indicated the scope for using the patient's own stem cells to cure his own eye.

Editor: Zheng Limin | Source: Xinhua