The eye is a relatively small but very complex organ. The cornea which lies on the front surface of the eye is our window to the world. It provides protection for the eye against different insults.
The ocular surface is made up of two distinct types of epithelial cells; the conjunctival and the corneal epithelia. The integrity and functionality of the outermost corneal layer the epithelium plays a key role in refraction of light on to the retina at the back of the eye. Like other pithelia the epithelium of the cornea is maintained by a population of stem cells known as limbal stem cells (LSCs).
Regenerative medicine and tissue engineering techniques have offered a viable alternative to overcome the limitation of corneas for transplantation in chemical and burn injuries and for other indications of corneal transplant. In this project Limbal stem cells (LSCs) harvested from a small limbal biopsy will be cultured and expanded in vitro on different suitable biological scaffolds. The ultimate long term aim would be to transplante these cultured tissues to the diseased cornea to successfully restore the corneal surface.
In order to treat corneal epithelial damage causing blindness, such as burns and other autoimmune diseases, this technology will solve permanently the injury thus restoring sight. The project is supported by the research support fund of the ministry of higher education. The project has started on June, 2013 for a period of 3 years. Total amount of support was JD is 500000.
This project will be finalized on time and will be the first in the Arab World to generate corneal epithelium from limbal stem cells.