Research press release





今回、Kang Zhangたちは、哺乳類のLECを単離し、その再生能力を評価し、LECを保持しつつ元々の水晶体を除去するための外科的方法を開発した。そして、Zhangたちは、この方法を用いて、ウサギとマカクザルと12人の白内障患者(2歳以下)の水晶体の再生に成功した。Zhangたちは、この新しい方法による治療を受けた乳幼児において、水晶体嚢の開口部が1か月以内に治癒し、現行の標準的治療を受けた白内障の小児患者と比較して視軸透明度が20倍以上に達したことを報告している。

A new, minimally invasive surgical technique for treating cataracts - the leading cause of blindness worldwide - using an animal’s own stem cells is reported in a paper published online this week in Nature. The study demonstrates regeneration of the lens of the eye in animals and human infants with improved outcomes and reduced complications compared to the current standard treatment.

The current treatment for cataracts involves surgically removing the clouded lens of the eye and replacing it with an artificial lens. Although this surgery is common in infants with congenital cataracts, it requires a large incision to the lens capsule that can lead to inflammation, prolonged recovery and the destruction of many lens epithelial stem/progenitor cells (LECs), which have an important role in protecting the lens against external injury.

Kang Zhang and colleagues isolated LECs in mammals, assessed their regenerative abilities and developed a surgical method for removing the native lens while preserving the LECs. Using this method, they demonstrate successful lens regeneration in rabbits and macaques, as well as in 12 human cataract patients up to two years of age. The authors report that in human infants treated with their new method, the capsular openings healed within one month and the transparency of the visual axis increased by more than 20-fold compared to paediatric cataract patients who received the current standard-of-care treatment.

doi: 10.1038/nature17181

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