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Chennai, 09 December 2008; Three Chennai based institutes have inked a pact to make available the revolutionary buccal mucosal epithelial cell based solutions for severe corneal surface disease based on a Japanese technology. Rajan Eye Care(REC) and Darshan Eye Clinic (DEC), Chennai based ophthalmology hospitals will start this treatment shortly jointly with Nichi-In centre for Regenerative Medicine who have developed the technology of isolating and expanding patients buccal mucosa in their laboratory as per protocols developed by Japanese scientists.

Dr.Abraham (NCRM), exchanging MoU with Dr Mohan Rajan (REC) and Dr Srinivas K.Rao (DEC)

Cornea is the black central transparent portion of the eye which is affected by physical or chemical injuries and diseases such as stem cell deficiency. Corneal stem cells which are present around the black portion can repair the damages when they are withing their capability. If the damages are too severe in one eye, the opposite eye normal stem cells could be transplanted. But when the patient comes with both eyes having corneal stem cell damage, then either a donor transplantation is necessary or a procedure called OOKP (Ortho-Odonto Kerato Prosthesis) will have to be done. The OOKP is a 2 or 3 step procedure done only in two centres in the country one among them is REC.

This new procedure to be started will use the patients own buccal mucosa (inner portion of the cheek) therefore they will not be rejected. A small portion of the buccal mucosa taken from REC and DEC will be sent to NCRM where the cells will be isolated and expanded several fold then transplanted in the affected eye of the patient. This procedure developed by Dr.Nishida of Japan is started for the first time in India and in addition to the earlier methodologies we have made it much advanced by not using biological proteins such as Human Amniotic membrane etc which reduces the chances for rejection and better success rates as proven in clinical treatments earlier.

According to Dr Srinivas K.Rao, specialist in corneal surgeries, the advantage of this procedure over OOKP is that this could be done in short duration as day care procedure whereas OOKP is a time consuming procedure taking a few months between each step and also the patient has to sacrifice a tooth.

Cataract surgery is done in all hospitals routinely and this kind of advanced technologically demanding surgeries are done in a very few centres according to Dr Mohan Rajan, Director of REC. The earlier done studies in the laboratory with NCRM have yielded positive results with cell isolation, expansion and characterization which have made us plan for starting this unique procedure for the first time in India he added.

Buccal Mucosal epithelium for Bi-lateral corneal epithelial disease.

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*"Nichi" stands for Japan and "In" stands for India. This institute started on an Indo-Japan collaboration now has spreaded further with global alliances
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