Stem cell treatment restores sight

Stem cell treatment has restored a man's eyesight after he was partially blinded in a chemical attack.

Russell Turnbull lost the sight in his right eye while attempting to break up a fight between two men in Newcastle upon Tyne.

One of the men squirted ammonia which hit Mr Turnbull's eye resulting in extensive damage to the cornea stem cells - a condition known as Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency (LSCD).

After 12 years of painful and expensive treatment, Mr Turnbull volunteered for a medical trial involving the use of stem cells.

The procedure, which was co-led by Doctor Francisco Figueiredo at the North East England Stem Cell Institute (NESCI), involved taking a "tiny amount" of stem cells from the good eye, growing them in a lab and then implanting them in the damaged eye where they restored sight and allowed Mr Turnbull to regain his independence.

Dr Figueiredo said: "This new treatment will alleviate patient suffering and remove the need for long term multiple medications as well as returning the patient to functional and social independence."

The results of the trails have been published in the American Journal Stem Cells.

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