Stem Cells Will Soon Change Cataract Surgery

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Full Name: Kannivelu Badrinath
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Stem Cells Will Soon Change Cataract Surgery

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If worn body parts could be repaired, we could live longer and healthier lives. That is the dream of those working in the field of regenerative medicine. In a feat towards that dream, researchers in China have used a new technique to restore vision in children suffering from cataracts.

Instead of replacing the cloudy lens with an artificial lens, researchers at Sun Yat-sen University and the University of California at San Diego used body’s own stem cells. They made a small slit in the lens capsule and removed the cloudy lens. The capsule which is already lined with a type of lens stem cell then starts to regenerate a new lens. The procedure was very successful when they tried it on rabbits and monkeys. They then performed the surgery in 12 children who had cataracts in both eyes. After eight months the lens regrew and researcher Kang Zhang told the "BBC" that all the children were doing well now with normal vision.

Although the researchers were hopeful they were not sure how successful the procedure will be in older patients. Further trial was needed before it becomes an established procedure in all patients suffering from cataract.

The report was first published in "Nature" The International Weekly Journal of Science.
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