Ready, Steady, Graft
Do limbal stem cell grafts offer hope for corneal transplantation patients?
Phoebe Harkin | | Quick Read
The first cultivated autologous limbal epithelial cell transplantation (CALEC) has been performed in the US. The technique, developed in 2018 by researchers at Harvard Medical School (HMS), Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, was used to treat four patients with chemically induced corneal injuries. CALEC uses a patient’s limbal stem cells – found at the outer border of the cornea – to create an ocular graft. The cells are processed in a clean room environment to maintain maximum sterility over a period of approximately three weeks, at which point the graft is ready for transplantation. Ula Jurkunas, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at HMS and Associate Scientist at the Schepens Eye Research Institute, has been working on the technique for more than a decade.
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