Corneal Stem Cells Transplant

Staminal cells transplant today offers the possibility to cure some corneal diseases. In the future it will probably be possible to treat retina disease as well: research here is still at an initial phase.

Several patients can benefit from staminal cells transplant: People with damaged corneal epithelium caused by

  • acid, lime, or other chemicals burn,
  • iInfections,
  • congenital diseases like aniridia (people born without iris)
  • autoimmune diseases like the Steven Johnson syndrome of the ocular pemphigoid,
  • contact lenses abuse.

Corneal staminal cells are located in the limbus and are places in a crown shape between the cornea (the transparent part of the eye) and the sclera (the white portion of the eye). When they are damages, the conjuntival epithelium that covers the white part of the eye, covers the whole cornea too, making it loose its transparency. This compromises vision.

If the problem is located in a single eye, it is possible to transplant staminal cells from the healthy eye to the other. The transplanted cells, in a months and a half, reproduce themselves and the cornea becomes opaque again (autologous transplant).

If both eyes are affected, it will be necessary a donation from a relative (parent or sibling), that has to be 50% identical or from a corpse, usin anti-rejection treatments (aeterologous transplant).

In serious case, there is a great opportunity that is to grow corneal staminal cells in the lab: even with few healthy cells it will be possible to have an autologous transplant (cells coming from the patient itself) with good results.

Surgery usually needs to be completed with a corneal transplant, in order to replace also the damaged corneal stroma. An alternative for a fast vision recovery could be the Boston artificial corneal transplant (keratoprosthesis).
this kind of surgeries are perfomed only in specialized corneal transplant centers.
Dr. Badalà performs these surgeries in Milan and Catania.


Stanislao Porrini, Teramo (Morro d'Oro)

Votazione: Eccellente
After two stem cell transplants for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, I had a cutaneous and a eye rejection, with corneal ulcers in both eyes and a corneal perforation in the left eye.

I underwent 14 operations at other facilitie... Keep on reading this reviews and contacted 8 well-known Italian professors, but all my hope was gone as everybody refused to perform surgery, because of the seriousness of my problem (1/20 in the right eye, nothing in the left: I was almost blind!).

The only one who give me a good advice was a dear doctor who suggest me to talk to Dr. Badalà, because he could perform a Boston Keratoprosthesis, that she considered my only chance to recover a few dioptres.

After the visit, Dr. Badalà proposed me a corneal transplant.

I underwent the transplant on Dec. 4, 2014, in Milan and was followed by Dr. Badalà and his fantastic team.

After surgery, which lasted 3 hours and a half under general anesthesia, I felt as if nothing had happened: no eye pain and no discomfort due to anesthesia.

I give top marks to surgery and clinic! I was discharged after just one night without any problem.

After surgery, for about ten days I did frequent follow ups, than one every 15 days and after that one every month.

Now,while I’m waiting for removing the stitches and reopening eyelids, I’m following the treatment given by Dr. Badalà and I can see the light through the slot left for the dressing!

For me it is a great progress and I thank the only one who took charge of this delicate problem. Besides being an excellent doctor, Dr. Badalà is a person with whom you can speak freely, as you talk with friends, he made me feel at home and he was always available for any explanation.
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