“Adipose stem cells are easily obtained and highly efficient. Implanted into the corneal stroma, they are able to differentiate in vivo into adult keratocytes, do not stimulate immune reactions and produce newly formed human extracellular matrix,” Jorge Alió del Barrio, MD, said.
COPENHAGEN — Transplantation of autologous human adipose–derived adult stem cells may be a feasible alternative to corneal transplantation in patients with keratoconus, according to the preliminary results of a study presented at the EuCornea meeting.
Following preliminary studies in animals, autologous human adipose-derived adult stem cells obtained through lipoaspiration were transplanted in the corneas of six patients with advanced keratoconus.
A femtosecond-assisted 9.5 mm diameter intrastromal pocket was performed and using a cannula, a solution containing 3 million stem cells was injected. The procedure was performed under topical anesthesia, and no sutures were applied.
“We had an early VA improvement, with stable refraction, 1 week after the procedure. This was likely to be due to the surgery rather than the cells,” Alió del Barrio said.
Topography and keratometry parameters were stable.
“What improved was pachymetry. We saw improvement after the first month, which was congruent with the results observed in animals. The thinnest central point improved, central corneal thickness improved, and corneal volume improved. IOP was stable, [endothelial cell count] was stable, and the cornea was perfectly transparent,” Alió del Barrio said.
No complications or inflammatory response occurred.
“These are preliminary results that need further investigation but are encouraging,” he said. – by Michela Cimberle