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NT Bureau | Sun, 25 Jul, 2010 , 02:08 PM

Research bears fruit at Sankara Nethralaya

VRF president and Sankara Nethralaya director (Microbiology)
Dr H N Madhavan, founder and Chairman Emeritus of
Sankara Nethralaya Dr S S Badrinath, Deputy Consul
General of Japan Takayuki Kitagawa and Dr Samuel JK Abraham
of Nichi-In Biosciences at the press conference

Vision Research Foundation and Mebiol Inc have taken up a  joint research and it paved way for the invention of ‘corneal limbal stem cells’ which will help cure diseases like persistent corneal ulcers, Stevens-Johnson syndrome and other severely damaging injuries to the corneal epithelium, using the patient’s corneal stem cells.VRF, the research wing of Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai, joined hands with M/S Nichi-In Biosciences (P) Ltd, a Chennai-based Indo-Japan joint venture firm and M/S Mebiol Inc., Japan, to take up the above research.

Speaking at a press conference here on Friday, VRF president and  Sankara Nethralaya director (Microbiology) Dr H N Madhavan said ‘In India the number of patients requiring corneal stem cell transplantation is enormous.

Severe ocular surface disorders such as chemical or thermal injuries, ocular cicatrical pemphigoid, neurotrophic keratopathy, chronic limbits and severe microbial keratitis cause significant morbidities and even corneal blindness.’



Madhavan said ‘At Sankara Nethralaya alone, approximately 6,000 patients are seen at the ocular surface clinic every year, almost 80 per cent have some form of dry eyes.

About 125 new patients of Stevens Johnson Syndrome are seen in a year, out of which nearly 25 per cent may benefit from Cultured Corneal Epithelial Transplant, 75 new patients of thermal / chemical injury are seen every year, out of which almost 80 per cent will benefit from Corneal Limbal Stem Cell Transplantation, he said.

Madhavan said various surgical techniques have been developed to treat Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency (LSCD). The treatment is mainly through the transplantation of ex-vivo expanded corneal limbal stem cells on Human Amniotic membrane matrix.

The new project aims at cultivation of Human corneal limbal tissue within the Mebiol Gel and characterisation of the cultivated corneal limbal stem cells using molecular markers.’ he added.

He further said that ‘It is the first time in the world that a non biological (totally synthetic) material has been used as the substrate to grow corneal limbal stem cells hereby paving a way for avoiding biological materials such as HAM to avoid viral and other dangerous contaminations as well as rejections.’

Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Sankara Nethralaya, Dr S S Badrinath stressed for more such meaningful research by Indo-Japan to give better service to humanity.

Deputy Consul General of Japan, Takayuki Kitagawa and Dr Samuel JK Abraham of Nichi-In Biosciences were present.

- Courtesy News Today, 24 July 2010 issue.
*"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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