Researchers in India continue work in quest for pterygium treatment

December 2, 0007

Calcutta, India-Research being conducted in search of a cure for the potentially blinding disease, pterygium, is getting closer. The Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine (CSTM), Calcutta, India, is conducting research on the culture of limbal stem cells, which could be used for replacement of damaged limbal cells in the eye.

Calcutta, India-Research being conducted in search of a cure for the potentially blinding disease, pterygium, is getting closer. The Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine (CSTM), Calcutta, India, is conducting research on the culture of limbal stem cells, which could be used for replacement of damaged limbal cells in the eye.

Research at the school is in collaboration with the Regional Institute of Ophthalmology, Calcutta Medical College and Hospital.

"Current methods of treatment of pterygium, which is a notorious eye disease in this part of the country, have a sizeable incidence of relapse, with a fleshy growth re-growing over areas of the eye, such as the cornea, which reduce vision," said professor Gautam Bhaduri, director, Regional Institute of Ophthalmology (RIO). "If the culture of limbal stem cells in artificial conditions is successful, they can be used to replace damaged limbal cells. In this case, there will be no chance of relapse, or re-growth of the fleshy growth that obstructs vision."

Just in case limbal cells in the eye are damaged due to an accident or pterygium, physicians in the RIO collect undamaged limbal cells from another part of the patient's eye. The limbal cells are transported to the CSTM's stem cell laboratory, where the cells are cultured.

"We are progressing at a fast pace in preparing limbal stem cells that can be used for transplant purposes," said professor Samaresh Chaudhuri, internationally-renowned stem cell researcher and head of the department of biochemistry and medical biotechnology, CSTM. "We hope to have a breakthrough in 2 or 3 months' time," he added.