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Regenerating Eyes Using Cells From Hair: Journal STEM CELLS Awards Pioneering Research into limbal stem cell deficiency

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Dr. Meyer-Blazejewska, from the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, in Germany, won the award for her research into Limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD), a condition which causes the cornea to become cloudy and develop a rough surface causing pain and leading to blindness.

Currently, treatments focus on harvesting limbal cells from a patient’s healthy eye or from cadaveric tissue. In her pioneering research, Dr. Meyer-Blazejewska considered the potential use of stem cells harvested from hair follicles to reconstruct damaged tissue for patients who suffer from LSCD in both eyes.

“Tissue engineering has become a rapidly growing field of research and it is expected to reveal the potential for the application of adult stem cells in clinical practice,” said Dr. Meyer-Blazejewska. “I hope the results in our paper will be instrumental for the advancement of research in the areas of stem cell niche, stemness and differentiation, which will aid in the treatment of LSCD as well as other ocular and non-ocular diseases."

Dr. Meyer-Blazejewska’s team demonstrated that in the right microenvironment stem cells from hair follicles do have the capacity for cellular differentiation, the process whereby a less specialized cell becomes a more specialized cell type, in this case the cells of the corneal epithelial phenotype. The team’s results showed an 80% rate of differentiation in mouse eyes following a cell transplant highlighting the promising therapeutic potential of these cells.

“Young scientists are vital for advancing stem cell science, providing exciting and essential new insights, and propelling the field of regenerative medicine with new discoveries that impact many kinds of malignant or degenerative disorders,” said Dr. Miodrag Stojković, Editor, STEM CELLS. “As demonstrated in this year’s Young Investigator Award-winning paper, which focuses on the use of stem cells harvested from hair follicles to reconstruct damaged tissue for patients who suffer from LSCD, these promising new scientists are the life-force for stem cell research.”

The winning paper is available free here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/stem.550/abstract

 

The winning paper is published in STEM CELLS. Media Wishing to request a copy should contact Lifesciencenews@wiley.com or phone +44 (0)1243 770 375

Full Citation: Meyer-Blazejewska. E, “From hair to cornea: toward the therapeutic use of hair follicle-derived stem cells in the treatment of limbal stem cell deficiency,” STEM CELLS, Wiley-Blackwell, DOI: 10.1002/stem.550

Paper URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/stem.550/abstract

About The Stem Cell Symposium

The International Stem Cell Symposium has been organized by Medical Faculty of the University of Kragujevac, Serbia at which the most promising basic and clinical research dealing with stem cells and their therapeutic applications is critically discussed by cutting-edge international researchers. The fundamental mission of the Symposium is to educate young scientists and clinicians so that they could be productive in their future professional activities.

More information about the program and registration on: http://www.medf.kg.ac.rs/index_en.php

About STEM CELLS: STEM CELLS, a peer reviewed journal published monthly, provides a forum for prompt publication of original investigative papers and concise reviews. The journal covers all aspects of stem cells: embryonic stem cells/induced pluripotent stem cells; tissue-specific stem cells; cancer stem cells; the stem cell niche; stem cell epigenetics, genomics and proteomics; and translational and clinical research.

For more information, please visit: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1002/(ISSN)1549-4918