Tratamiento con células madre devuelve por primera vez la visión a una persona ciega

Las células provienen de donantes de órganos y hasta el momento los resultados han sido satisfactorios.

De acuerdo con una nueva investigación en Escocia, se podría restaurar realmente la visión a millones de personas ciegas usando células madre extraídas de los ojos de donantes de órganos.

Gracias al pionero trasplante de tejidos, a ocho pacientes con una afección común que destruye la visión se les ha reparado el área afectada, y dos pudieron leer nuevamente después de tener una degeneración macular grave.

El tratamiento revolucionario puede conducir a una cura para la ceguera causada por el daño a la córnea, la superficie protectora del ojo. A menudo se nubla en las personas mayores debido a una lesión o infección. En países más subdesarrollados, los niños y los jóvenes también son cada vez más propensos.

La primera persona ciega recupera la visión gracias a tratamiento con células madre-Nation

“Los hallazgos de este pequeño estudio son muy prometedores y muestran el potencial de una cirugía ocular con células madre seguras, así como mejoras en la reparación ocular”, dijo el líder del estudio Baljean Dhillon, profesor de oftalmología clínica en el Centro de Ciencias Clínicas del Cerebro de la Universidad de Edimburgo.

Al describir el avance como un ”pionero”, Dhillon y sus colegas dijeron que arroja información sobre las causas de los trastornos de la vista y muestra cómo el daño ocular se puede arreglar con células madre de donantes.

El estudio publicado en STEM CELLS Translational Medicine se centró en las células madre del limbo, que en general carecen de pacientes con ceguera corneal. Las células se encuentran en la capa superior de la córnea, el epitelio, y actúan como una barrera contra el polvo y los gérmenes.

La primera persona ciega recupera la visión gracias a tratamiento con células madre-Nation

Sin este tejido, la córnea se vuelve irregular, destruye la visión y deja el ojo propenso a la infección. Puede ser resultado de daños causados ​​por sustancias químicas o calor, o una enfermedad llamada aniridia, que puede provocar cicatrices y pérdida severa de la visión en ambos ojos, así como dolor crónico y enrojecimiento.

Las córneas sanas normales son transparentes, pero cuando estas células especializadas se pierden, la córnea se vuelve cicatrizada y borrosa.

Como un medio para reparar la córnea, el equipo utilizó muestras de personas que habían donado sus ojos después de la muerte para cultivar las células madre.

Luego, los investigadores dividieron a 16 pacientes entre las edades de 20 y 74 en dos grupos, uno de los cuales se seleccionó al azar para recibir el tejido trasplantado. También se les administraron gotas oculares estándar y medicamentos supresores del sistema inmunológico para reducir el riesgo de rechazo.

Aquellos que recibieron las células madre mostraron una mejora significativa en la superficie ocular de sus ojos, la capa más externa, en el transcurso de 18 meses. Estos resultados no se vieron en el grupo de control que recibió gotas para los ojos.

Es la primera vez que se usan células madre para este propósito en un ensayo clínico, el método científico estándar para probar un nuevo tratamiento.

La primera persona ciega recupera la visión gracias a tratamiento con células madre-Nation

Los investigadores consideraron el paso como un hito para la cirugía basada en células, y afirmaron que se muestra prometedor para reparar la superficie del ojo y allanar el camino para que se planifiquen ensayos con donantes similares.

Creen que el sistema inmunológico podría desempeñar un papel vital en algunas formas de deficiencia de células madre del limbo (LSCD), pero dicen que se necesita más investigación.

“La deficiencia de células madre limbares (LSCD) es una enfermedad irreversible que resulta de la pérdida o disfunción de estas células madre epiteliales. El epitelio corneal se vuelve deficiente y es reemplazado por el epitelio conjuntival circundante, lo que resulta en un epitelio irregular, engrosado, a menudo con inflamación”, dijo Dhillion.

“La LSCD causa una enfermedad grave de la superficie ocular caracterizada por visión reducida o ceguera, irritación ocular crónica y deslumbramiento”.

Dhillon espera que pueda conducir a nuevas formas de abordar otras formas de ceguera. Solo en el Reino Unido, hay casi 2 millones de personas que viven con pérdida de visión, con aproximadamente 360,000 registrados como ciegos o deficientes visuales.

“Nuestros próximos pasos son para comprender mejor cómo las células madre podrían promover la reparación de tejidos para enfermedades que son extremadamente difíciles de tratar, y cómo podrían ayudar a restaurar la visión”.

Curiosamente, tanto el grupo de células madre como el grupo de control mostraron mejoras en la visión que, según los investigadores, merecen una investigación más profunda en un ensayo más amplio.

Marc Turner, director médico del Servicio Nacional de Transfusión de Sangre de Escocia y profesor de Terapia Celular en la Universidad de Edimburgo, dijo: “Los estudios clínicos como estos nos ayudan a comprender cómo las nuevas terapias celulares complejas pueden complementar los enfoques médicos existentes para restaurar la función de tejidos y órganos dañados”.

El año pasado, a dos pacientes se les restauró la vista después de que se usaron células madre para volver a crecer las células responsables de la visión detallada en sus ojos.

El hombre de 80 años y la mujer de 60 años pudieron leer nuevamente después del procedimiento. Tenían una deficiencia visual severa causada por la degeneración macular relacionada con la edad (DMAE) que afecta a alrededor de 600,000 personas solo en el Reino Unido.

El equipo del University College de Londres dijo que el tratamiento podría ser efectivo en otras enfermedades que causan ceguera.

Puedes encontrar el estudio publicado en el siguiente enlace.

Gracias a nuestros amigos de Nation por la redacción original de esta nota. 

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