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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 77-81

Using stem cell biology to study and treat ophthalmologic and oculoplastic diseases

1 Black Family Stem Cell Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; Department of Ophthalmology; Department of Medical Education, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA
2 Black Family Stem Cell Institute, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; Developmental and Regenerative Biology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; The Graduate School of Biomedical Science, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA

Correspondence Address:
Albert Y Wu
One Gustave L. Levy Place, Box 1022, New York, NY 10029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/tjo.tjo_16_17

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With the rapid growth of the stem cell biology field, the prospect of regenerative medicine across multiple tissue types comes closer to reality. Several groundbreaking steps paved the way for applying stem cell biology to the several subfields within ophthalmology and oculoplastic surgery. These steps include the use of stem cell transplants as well as studies of various ophthalmologic pathologies at the molecular level. The necessity of stem cell transplant is readily apparent, having already been used for several studies such as artificial lacrimal gland design and eyelid reconstruction. Investigating the stem cell biology behind oncological diseases of the eye has also developed recently, such as with the identification of specific markers to label cancer stem cells in orbital adenoid cystic carcinoma. The advent of induced pluripotent stem cells led to a burst of productivity in the field of regenerative medicine, making it possible to take a patient's own cells, reprogram them, and use them to either study patient-specific pathology in vitro or use them for eventual patient specific therapeutics. Patient-specific adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) have been used for a variety of treatments, such as wound healing and burn therapies. As the fields of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine continue to progress, its use will become a mainstay of patient-specific cell therapies in the future.

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