Holoclar makes history: Europe approves West's first stem-cell therapy
- Chiesi, a privately held Italian company, has received approval in the EU for Holoclar for the treatment of eye burns.
- Specifically, Holoclar is intended for treatment of limbal stem-cell deficiency due to physical or chemical burns.
- Stem cell products are made of living tissues, and in this case, the end-product is made from a biopsy of healthy corneal tissue taken from the patient and grown in a lab using cell culture.
Stem cell research goes all the way back to the late 1970's when stem cells were first discovered in human cord blood. Now, almost 40 years later, bone marrow transplants and stem-cell replacement is a common clinical practice, as is cord-blood banking. Stem cell therapeutic research continues with a focus on cardiovascular treatments, cancer treatments, and in the field of ophthalmology.
The development of Holoclar, which resembles a contact lens, is just one example of how the regenerative capacity of stem cells is being harnessed to improve vision. In this case, Holoclar can be used to treat people who have suffered eye injuries due to any number of causes, including acid burns, solvents, abrasive eye trauma, and chemicals.