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JUL/AUG 2013  

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New technique to deliver stem cell therapy may help damaged eyes regain sight

Engineers at the University of Sheffield have developed a new technique for delivering stem cell therapy to the eye which they hope will help the natural repair of eyes damaged by accident or disease. This could help millions of people across the world retain–or even regain–their sight, according to the engineers.

The Sheffield team adapted techniques from the semiconductor and advanced materials industries, such as microstereolithography and electrospinning, to make a disk of biodegradable material, which can be fixed over the cornea.

The disk is loaded with stem cells, which then multiply, allowing the eye to heal naturally.

Sheila eye

University of Sheffield Professor Sheila MacNeil with a model of the human eye.  


“The disc has an outer ring containing pockets into which stem cells taken from the patient’s healthy eye can be placed,” explains EPSRC Fellow, Dr Ílida Ortega Asencio, from Sheffield’s Faculty of Engineering. “The material across the center of the disc is thinner than the ring, so it will biodegrade more quickly allowing the stem cells to proliferate across the surface of the eye to repair the cornea.”


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