Faculty of Medical Sciences

Giving Back Sight

Giving Back Sight

After suffering with limited vision and constant pain for twelve years, Russell Turnbull's sight has improved after receiving pioneering stem cell treatment.

Russell Turnbull has suffered for over 12 years with constant pain and seriously limited vision after a night out went horribly wrong. After intervening in a scuffle between two people on his way back from town, Russell had ammonia thrown in his face with serious consequences for his vision. This resulted in a condition known as Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency (LSCD). Luckily for Russell, researchers have developed a pioneering stem cell treatment which sees the re-growth and replacement of damaged cornea in the eye using a patient’s own stem cells.

Russell said: "This research has transformed my life and I can’t thank the team enough."

The study was led by Professor Majlinda Lako and Professor Francisco Figueiredo. Professor Lako said: "This study demonstrates that the transplantation of stem cells from a patient’s own eye is a safe and effective method of reconstructing the corneal surface and restoring useful sight in patients. Because the early results look so promising, we are thinking hard now about how to bring this treatment rapidly into the clinic as we complete the necessary clinical trials."

"It shows how we can take our ideas, invest in a home grown team, develop research projects and study the results to potentially help thousands of people regain their sight. This remarkable feat demonstrates to me how Newcastle has led the way in developing treatments that truly make a difference to people and we plan to continue developing breakthroughs using stem cell science to ensure we lead the future over the next ten years."

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