Limbal Stem Cells
Descemet's Membrane Transplant Technology
Limbal stem cell (LSC) deficiency is a blinding disease that is caused by excessive loss of LSCs, a population of multipotent cells found in the transition zone between the cornea and conjunctiva known as the limbus. LSCs continuously regenerate the vital, transparent corneal epithelium throughout life. Loss of these cells from ocular surface trauma results in corneal scarring, pain, and blindness. Transplantation of healthy donor LSC is often required for visual rehabilitation. However, due to the high-risk of rejection associated with these procedures, long-term outcomes are limited.
Medical Director Dr. Hou and LGS staff have invented a patented cell therapy that provides a way to restore the transparent tissue layer protecting the cornea. This novel cell therapy unlocks the potential of limbal stem cells and promises to restore clarity and function to eyes from patients suffering from surface burns, trauma, and debilitating cornea diseases (Fig 1). The key to this novel approach is to establish a healthy, stable environment for corneal epithelial stem cells to thrive on the corneal surface (fig 2). If this approach is successful in patients, it will overcome current obstacles to widespread ocular surface repair, and place within reach a solution that is accessible to the many who need it.
An industry sponsor (BrightStar, LLC) has joined LGS to incubate this new stem cell technology. If successful, this partnership will accelerate the widespread availability of limbal stem cell therapy.