LIMBAL STEM CELL CULTURE TECHNIQUE
The surface of the cornea is maintained by corneal epithelial stem cells located in the transition zone between the cornea and conjunctiva, known as the limbus.
ABOUT LIMBAL STEM CEL DEFICIENCY:
Limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD) is an irreversible disease resulting from the loss or dysfunction of these epithelial stem cells.
The corneal epithelium becomes deficient and is replaced by the surrounding conjunctival epithelium, resulting in a thickened, irregular, unstable epithelium, often with secondary neovascularization, and inflammation.
LSCD causes severe ocular surface disease (OSD) characterized by reduced vision or blindness, chronic ocular irritation, and glare. Standard corneal transplantation is not an effective treatment for LSCD. Several case series have provided evidence that grafting viable whole limbal tissue, either from the fellow healthy eye or donor eye, may replenish the host corneal epithelium.
My interest in this field is in the development of human limbal stem cells (HLSCs) transplantation using amniotic membrane model. This has been the core area of my research since 20 years which is now applied worldwide with satisfying results.
Human corneal endothelium is the posterior monolayer without any regenerative capacity.
ABOUT CORNEAL BLINDNESS:
Corneal blindness is one of the leading causes of visual impairment in the UK and one of the major reasons is that the corneal endothelial cells are damaged. As these cells cannot replace themselves inside the body.
The cells are excised from the donor eyes and are grown in the lab using different techniques. ONLY ONE successful human trial has been completed so far that shows the potential of transplanted lab grown cells.
Current standard of care includes surgical techniques that replace the damaged endothelium with that of the recipient healthy endothelium. However, due to the availability of the limited number of donor corneas, it becomes important and urgent to meet the need by growing multiple tissues in the lab from one tissue and transplant to many patients.
My interest in the field of corneal endothelium is to produce more tissues from one graft especially from the old age donor tissues, that are easy to obtain but difficult to grow in the lab and transplant these cells in the human eye in the future.
Extracellular matrix is the basement of the cells that is generated by the cells itself. They have some core proteins that are necessary for the cells to attach and grow especially in the lab. The plasticity of these matrices helps to decide the fate of the cells as well.
My interest in corneal epithelial ECM is to understand the effect of plasticity on the corneal end conjunctival cells and in corneal endothelium for the proteins that form the ECM as it helps the endothelial cells to attach and grow at a better rate than the routine procedures followed currently.
ABOUT EXTRA CELLULAR VESICLES:
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are lipid bilayer-delimited particles that are naturally released from a cell and, unlike a cell, cannot replicate. The knowledge about EVs from various life science research disciplines show huge potential of the EVs for various applications, especially in regenerative medicine and alternative therapeutic approaches. EVs have been currently exploited in multiple fields such as immunology, vaccine development, tissue re-generation and drug delivery systems. One of the secreted types of microvesicles include exosomes that are nano-sized vesicles capable of transferring the DNAs, microRNAs, non-coding RNAs and lipids with or without direct cell to cell contact, so representing the novel way of intracellular communication.
My interest is to look at the exosomes as DDS especially to heal the corneal epithelium and conjunctiva.