Harvard Medical School surgeons at Massachusetts Eye and Ear have replaced the ocular surface of four patients who each experienced chemical burns to one eye. The technique, cultivated autologous limbal epithelial cell transplantation (CALEC), uses stem cells taken from a patient’s healthy eye. These four cases are part of an ongoing clinical trial supported by the National Eye Institute and represent the first procedures of their kind to occur in the United States.
The clinical trial represents the first human study of a stem cell therapy to be funded by the National Eye Institute. Pretrial work was also funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s initiative PACT.