We have collaborated with the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC) and the Vietnam Eye Institute to develop applications where stem cell regeneration can be used to aid in human cornea repair. The cornea is the transparent front of the eye where light enters to fall onto the retina. Scarring or fogging of the cornea can result in diminished eyesight or even blindness. Cornea-related disease and degeneration increases with age. Alternative treatment methods using autologous stem cells reduce the need for corneal transplants.

Two papers have been published related to the use of Cord Lining Stem Cells in corneal resurfacing.

The first paper comprehensively characterised Cord Lining Stem Cells to show their stem cell features and multipotent nature.

Publication: Reza HM, Ng B-Y, Phan TT, et al. Characterization of a novel umbilical cord lining cell with CD227 positivity and unique pattern of P63 expression and function. Stem Cell Rev. 2011 Sep; 7(3): 624-638

The second paper describes the successful transplantation of Cord Lining Stem Cells on amniotic membrane to resurface rabbit corneal defects.

Publication: Reza HM, Ng B-Y, Gimeno FL, et al. Umbilical cord lining stem cells as a novel and promising source for ocular surface regeneration. Stem Cell Rev. 2011 Nov; 7(4): 935-947

Associate Professor Ang of the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) of the Singapore National Eye Centre has commented:

“Our study introduces a novel umbilical cord derived cell with high proliferative capacity which may have potential therapeutic applications for use in regenerative medicine and tissue replacement for treating various diseases.”

This work was subsequently translated for human cornea repair performed at the Vietnam National Eye Institute by Associate Professor Hoang Minh Chau in association with the FBM Regenerative Biology and Medicine JSC, which is ongoing to date. So far, results have been excellent.

Associate Professor Chau and her team presented their data in their paper “Using Tissue- cultured Cord Lining Epithelial Cells in the Treatment of Persistent Corneal Epithelial Defect” on the resurfacing of 16 human eyes, 15 of which were treated successfully, at the Asia Cornea Society Meeting in the Philippines.