Blind World

Adult Stem Cell Therapy.
Indian scientists treat eye patients using adult stem cells.

January 9, 2005.

Researchers in India have used adult stem cells in the successful treatment of over 160 patients with damaged retinas. The announcement was made by Dr D Balasubramaniam, director of Hyderabad's L V Prasad Eye Institute, who was speaking at a science conference in Ahmedabad. The team based in Hyderabad have been using adult stem cells for several years. What is exciting is the extent of their success. While so many researchers from around the world remain fixated by failed attempts to use stem cells from embryos, scientists in Hyderabad have been forging ahead in returning sight to the blind.

The procedure pioneered by Indian researchers involves the removal of adult stem cells from the limbic region of the patient's own eyes. These stem cells are then used to reconstruct damage regions, including the retina and the cornea.

Dr Balasubramaniam's announcement was not the only news on adult stem cell technology in India. Speaking at the same conference, Dr Aloke Srivastava of the Christian Medical College, Vellore, announced new trials using adult stem cells to repair damaged heart tissue. Meanwhile, Dr Deepika Mohanty, director of Institute of Immuno-Haematology in Mumbai spoke of his work on umbilical cord blood. The experiences of researchers in India echoes those of scientists from around the world; those who work with adult stem cells cure diseases: those who use embryos don't.

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