“This is a ‘sci-fi’ discovery in many media’s eyes.”
Have you ever imaged that limb can regrow after broken on a human body?
On March 9, a breakthrough published on Nature, one of the top science journals in the world saying that Prof. Liu Zhiyi, head of Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center of Sun Yat-sen University and his colleagues successfully regenerated human’s lens through using endogenous stem cells. 12 infants with congenital cataract had regained their sights.
Prof. Liu has published scientific papers on Nature three-year in a row [Photo/Nancy]
Although stem cells have always been regarded as the ideal treatment for regenerative medicine, this is the first time stem cells in human body regenerates an organ with complete functions. Moreover, it develops a new research field for regenerative medicine.
In the exclusive interview with Newsgd.com, Prof. Liu Yizhi shared his 18-year experience on developing regenerative medicine via human stem cells.
18-year research inspired by a rabbit
As the pioneer of ophthalmology, Prof. Liu has been devoting himself to cure congenital cataract and bring light to the children.
According to Prof. Liu, the current treatment of cataracts is a mature technology; however, it cannot be used on children, because their eyes are still developing.
“Congenital cataract is one of the intractable diseases with different causes. If the children cannot get timely treatment, cataracts may affect them in a very long time.” Prof. Liu said.
As the artificial lens is not available for the children, Prof. Liu decided to change his research direction from implanting artificial graft to using endogenous stem cells in 1998.
“Fifty years ago, people found that rabbit has the ability to regenerate their lens,” Prof. Liu indicated, “inspired by this, we start to our research
to prove that endogenous stem cell is the major reason for hyperplasia of stem cells, which lead cataract relapse after surgery.”
In order to activate the endogenous stem cell to regenerate tissues, Prof. Liu and his research team designed a new surgical method to remove the cloudy cataract and preserve the endogenous stem cells and natural environment maximally.
12 infants with congenital cataract accepted the new method. They regenerated their lens with complete visual function within 8 months. According to Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center, those children are doing well without any complication and repulsion so far.