Novel treatments for eye problems still at preliminary research stage
Human cells reprogrammed to become stem cells can form cornea tissue in lab dishes, researchers in Japan and Wales report March 9 in Nature. The stem cell tissue was used to repair the damaged outer layer of the cornea in rabbits. In a separate study also published March 9 in Nature, researchers in China and the United States coaxed stem cells in the eyes of a dozen babies born with cataracts to regrow clear lenses.
While both studies are technically proficient and provide new approaches to treating cataracts or corneal injuries, neither will soon be ready for widespread use in the clinic, says Henry Klassen, an ophthalmologist at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine. The United States would require more extensive testing before human studies are approved (both studies report results from small numbers of animals). Klassen also doubts that lens regeneration would be