July 15, 2016
The Future is here.
Stem Cells Allowing Eye Transplants
If you or a member of your family has been diagnosed with macular degeneration, you understand the fear of losing eye sight. Macular degeneration is most commonly found in Caucasians and Asians and more common after age 60. It is becoming more prevalent in Iowa because lifespans are increasing.
In a recent poll, Americans are more concerned about losing sight than any other sense. Over 15 million americans have macular degeneration and it is becoming the number one cause of blindness in the US.
At the University of Iowa, researchers have found ways to take your skin cells, and reverse them back to original stem cells. These stem cells can then regrow into healthy retinal cells. Because of a multi-million dollar grant, researchers now have access to 3D printing, allowing them to print a layer of microscopic eye tissue with these new healthy cells and implant them into the back of the eye where the blindness has occurred. This technology is in the testing phases, but is giving hope to restore sight to those with blindness from genetic disorders and macular degeneration.
This Technology will someday find its place in growing heart tissue, kidney or other organs. We may see transplants replaced by regenerative medicine. Yes, the future is right around the corner.