Dr. Bojan Kozomara

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Transplanted Placental Stem Cells Can Help Improve Vision

Stem cells have been in the spotlight for some years now, but of late they have been on the cutting edge of science and are heralding a new era in health technology. The latest addition to the stem cell research is a study in South Korea where a team of researchers took mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) from the amniotic membranes of human placenta (AMSCs) and successfully transplanted them into laboratory mice. The mice were pre-modeled with retinopathy.

Basically, through the study, they were hoping to squash abnormal blood vessel growth that often causes different eye diseases, like diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration. During the study, the team of researchers observed that the amniotic stem cells traveled effortlessly to the retinas of the mice and were able to stop the abnormal growth, thanks to the growth factors secreted by the cells.

MSCs have three distinct advantages in stem cell treatment.

One, as they are multipotent, they can easily self-renew and differentiate into a variety of specialized cell types, such as chondrocytes (cartilage cells), myocardiocytes (heart muscle cells), osteoblasts (cells that contribute to bone formation), adipocytes (fat cells), and neuron-like cells (nervous system cells). Two, MSCs are able to moderate the immune reaction and decrease local inflammation. And three, they can be isolated from a few different sources, such as fat tissues, umbilical cord blood, tendons and bone marrow, making it easier to extract and transplant the MSCs for therapeutic purposes.

Because of these advantages, MSCs have been effectively transplanted in several disease models where they have displayed many helpful benefits. However, there is a theory that that the multipotent stem cells taken from human placenta may have more growth factors than those derived from other sources, such as fat or bone.  Another ‘like’ for placenta over other sources was the abundance of placental tissue, and the ease with which the stem cells could be isolated from growth factor-rich tissues.

Stem cells derived from the placenta are strong in immune-modulatory functions. As part of the study, the AMSCs were introduced into the mice via intraperitoneal injection. The ability of these cells to migrate from the site of injection to the injured tissue in the eye was confirmed by the detection of the transplanted cells in the retina. Normally the blood brain barrier restricts this type of movement, so confirming that this cross-over could take place was crucial to confirm the AMSCs are viable candidates for treatment of retinopathy. Future study and analysis will be needed to confirm the effect of AMSCs on abnormal blood vessel growth the data collected by the researchers show how these cells exert their therapeutic effects.

Researchers marvel that a tissue that would normally be discarded as biomedical waste can, through the use of therapeutic purposes, be beneficial without using invasive procedures. While it is still not clear how effective AMSC transplantation would be for treating eye diseases in humans, this study is a step in the right direction for upping the feasibility of stem cell therapy in clinical practice.

doktor medicine, specijalista oftamologije at Klinika Svjetlost, Banja Luka | Website | + posts

Još od ranog djetinjstva bio sam oduševljen oftalmologijom, za mene najljepšom granom medicine. Pošto sam ujedno bio i dijete profesora oftalmologije, za mene je put moje karijere bio sasvim jasan i vidljiv. Nakon završetka srednje škole i uspešnog okončanja studija na Medicinskom fakultetu Banja Luka, radio sam sve što je bilo moguće kako bih se jednog dana mogao zvati i „oftalmologom.“ Sreća mi se osmijehnula, te sam nedugo po završteku studija dobio specijalizaciju iz oftalmologije u Kliničkom centru Banja Luka.

Trud i rad svakog ambicioznog i vrijednog studenta je bezvrijedan ako uz njega nije talentovan, požrtvovan i nesebičan mentor. U mom slučaju, to su bila dvojica ljudi koji su mi omogućili da u profesionalnom smislu postanem ovo što danas jesam. Prva osoba je moj pokojni otac, koji mi nije samo prenio ljubav prema oftalmologiji, nego je bio i najveća podrška mojoj karijeri. Druga osoba je moj „drugi otac“, prof. Nikica Gabrić, osnivač i vlasnik Klinika Svjetlost. On me je učio ne samo oftalmologiji i najnovijim vještinama, nego i filozofiji i psihologiji života. Zahvaljujući njemu, danas sam ne samo bolji oftalmolog, nego i bolji čovjek.

Liječenje bolesti oka nije uvijek lako, ali je sigurno uvijek interesantno. Živjeti i raditi u zemlji u razvoju i regionu punom izazova nije nikada bez uzbuđenja. Stoga sa ponosom mogu da kažem da sam bio dio tima koji je, sada već davne 2008. godine, prvi put izveo operaciju laserske korekcije dioptrije u Bosni i Hercegovini. Danas su refraktivne hirurške procedure, kao što su LASIK, Epi-LASIK, PRK i LASEK dio moje svakodnevne rutine i istinski nikada ne bih mogao biti srećniji zbog toga.

Osim mojih svakodnevnih stručnih i naučnih aktivnosti, uživam i u menadžerskim poslovima. Već skoro osam godina na čelu sam Klinike Svjetlost u Banjaluci. Svi moji saradnici, doktori i medicinske sestre, su vrijedni mladi ljudi na koje sam svaki dan sve više ponosan.