Patients with bilateral corneal blindness, called limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD), lack efficient treatment and therapy. We have developed a novel allogeneic stem cell based therapy to treat bilateral or unilateral LSCD. Our novel therapy shall be the first valid therapy for patients missing corneal limbal stem cells in both eyes. Presence of high number of limbal stem cells in the product can be secured, which will improve the success rate of corneal transplantations.
Our novel therapy shall be the first valid therapy for patients missing corneal limbal stem cells in both eyes.
Our approach is a novel allogeneic stem cell based therapy to transplant functional LESCs and restore the stem cell function of the limbus. The required LESCs can be produced from commercial (or in-house produced) allogeneic induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). If needed, cells can be also produced from patient’s own cells (e.g. patient with high risk of graft failure). The produced LESCs are transplanted onto the eye with the aid of clinically used biomaterial membrane. The commercial product shall be an easy to use kit, which the surgeons can use as they use corneal grafts today.
The proof-of-concept LESC transplantation studies in ex vivo porcine and human corneas has demonstrated successful cell transplantations and formation of intact epithelial layer after chemical defect. In vivo safety and efficacy pilot studies are currently on-going in a rabbit model.