Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

Stem Cells Used to Repair Diseased Eyes in India

Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

Stem Cells Used to Repair Diseased Eyes in India

Article excerpt

In late January 2007, India became the home of the newest in a string of vision research centers dedicated to exploring the potential of using adult eye stem cells to repair vision damage. The Champalimaud Center for Translation Eye Research (C-TRACER), part of the LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, India, will continue research begun by LV Prasad scientists, who have used eye stem cells from living adults to grow new cells that are then implanted into damaged or diseased tissue. The current research director for both LV Prasad and the new facility is D. Balasubramanian, former director of the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology and dean of the University of Hyderabad. Funded by the Champalimaud Foundation in Lisbon, Portugal, the goal of the center is to restore vision in individuals with low vision, especially those in developing countries in Africa and Asia, regions cited as having the highest incidence of needless blindness, according to Dr. Balasubramanian. The research center will also be critical to improving eye care in India, where many millions of people suffer from congenital visual diseases, such as glaucoma. Dr. Balasubramanian explained:

   Hundreds of millions of Indians marry within their community, so
   there is a lot of inherited blindness that is gene-derived. Almost
   one in every 4,000 live births in India seems to produce congenital
   glaucoma.

Other disorders that have been the focus of research by Dr. Balasubramanian and his researchers include retinitis pigmentosa and cataracts.

The researchers who will work at C-TRACER have been trained to develop treatments that are conceptualized in the laboratory, effected in the operating room, and reinforced through clinical rehabilitation. …

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