Title: Human limbal biopsyâ€“derived stromal stem cells prevent corneal scarring
Summary: Our corneasâ€”transparent, collagen-based structures that allow us to seeâ€”are easily damaged by trauma and infection, resulting in scarring and, in many cases, blindness. Although corneal transplant is the clinical norm, adverse immune responses and a shortage of cornea donors are serious limitations. Basu and colleagues devised a personalized cell-based, nonsurgical approach to prevent corneal scarring. They obtained mesenchymal stem cells from the human limbus (the region between the cornea and the sclera) and confirmed that they could be differentiated into keratocytes (corneal cells) in vitro. The human limbal biopsyâ€“derived stromal cells, or LBSCs, were then placed in a fibrin gel and applied to the surface of debridement wounds in mice. The LBSCs were able to regenerate damaged stromal tissue in the animals, resembling native corneal tissue. Because these cells can be obtained directly from the patient and because fibrin-based products are already used in people, this approach could translate soon to treat stromal scarring, a major cause of corneal blindness.