Scientists develop method to restore the vision in children through cell mothers- According to the data revealed in a recent study conducted by the researchers at the University of California, San Diego (United States of America), these infantile cataracts, and perhaps also those of older, they can be cured effectively by the stem cells of the organism itself.
The study published in the scientific journal says that nature let you see the use of a new surgical technique that is minimally invasive and enables the correct lens regeneration by the stem cells of the own child, leaving aside the need for the corrective lenses.
The cataracts are like the glaucoma and the ocular degeneration due to the age (AMD), the leading cause of the blindness worldwide. Thus, the experts explain that the cataracts are caused by an increase in the lens opacity, hindering the passage of the light to the retina and therefore the arrival of the visual information to the brain as it generates a progressive loss of the ability to see.
But on the contrary to what is commonly thought, not all the cataracts are a consequence of the aging. They can also occur in the children: it is called congenital or infantile cataracts, already present at birth or in the first years of life and it is precisely this sensitive group who favors the new finding.
The scientific director of Kang Zhang, said that “the success observed in our study represents a new approach on how a new tissue or organ human can be regenerated to thereby treat a disease, which can have a major impact on the regenerative therapies through the use of the regenerative capacity of our own organism”.
The study was conducted through the use of the endogenous stem cells, those stem cells are already present in the organism in which the damage is located in this case in the crystalline and that since is not required to be grown in the laboratory and then be transplanted, they are not associated with the possible infections or the rejection by the immune system.
Thus, the scientists used the lens on the epithelial stem cells these are the responsibles for the regeneration of the cells of the ocular lens throughout life that, over the years, end up losing their functional capacity endogenous cells.
This promising method designed by the researchers at the University of California is based on a minimally invasive surgical procedure that allows the child to maintain both the crystalloid –the layer or membrane that surrounds and shapes the crystalline- as the endogenous lens epithelial stem cells. Therefore, the traditional surgery with which the entire lens is removed and, therefore, the stem cells is prevented. Not surprisingly, these epithelial stem cells are fully functional, so they are able to completely regenerate the lens in a very short period of time.
The first finding of this research team was that the mother of the lens PAX6 expressing SOX2 genes and the cells renew themselves and then differentiate into cells that can form a transparent structure that can refract the light. Working with mice, they observed that the mutation of the Bmi-1 gene, which is expressed in the stem cells lens, hindered the proliferation of these cells and caused the cataracts.
“One of the ultimate goals of the stem cell research is to activate the regenerative capacity of the individual’s own stem cells to repair the organs and the tissues and the treatment of the diseases” also said the study leader Kang Zhang.
Among the final result, the investigation showed the result of the treatment with this non – invasive technique and with the traditional technique. They were subjected to 12 children to the new procedure, which showed a completely regenerated and transparent crystal in just three months. Compared to the 25 children where the conventional surgery was used they had greater rates of postsurgical inflammation and ocular hypertension early, and greater opacity of the lens.
The conventional surgery involves an incision in the lens capsule which can cause problems after the operation due to the inflammation and destroying the mother eye that protect the cells against injury. In children, the success of these implants is limited partly because the eye is still growing.
Despite the success of the surgery, the researchers acknowledge that the number of children who have undergone the process is fairly small for the conclusive data and there has been a very short period of follow – up that does not allow an ensure that there are no risks in the future, so they will require other tests with children, before ensuring that the method is available to everyone.
Other studies in Asia
Similar investigations were carried out in Japan, where a group of scientists conducted the tests on stem cells to generate tissues from these.
The team took cells generated in the cornea and saw that they could grow and transplant in the rabbits to repair its vision. Those responsible for the work say it could lay the groundwork for future clinical trials where the transplants of similar cells could be used to restore the vision.
Especially in this study the way from a minimum structure various parts of the eye are built is covered, rather than from the cornea transplants itself.
The method developed by the Japanese researchers lays the foundation to find out how a disease is generated, since you can generate cells of any person, including the sick people.