Dr Shigeru Kinoshita
Synopsis: Devastating ocular surface and cornea-related disorders, such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome, chemical injury, Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy and severe corneal endothelial failures, are very difficult to treat properly. Several types of transplantable cultivated mucosal epithelial sheets have been developed thanks to state-of-the-art corneal regenerative medicine and the latest advancements in ocular surface biology. The first is the allogeneic/autologous corneal epithelial stem-cell sheet, the second is the autologous oral mucosal epithelial sheet and the third is the induced pluripotent stem-cell derived corneal epithelial sheet. Some of them have been officially approved by the European Medicines Agency and the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency for clinical use.
A similar corneal regenerative medicine can be applied to treat corneal endothelial dysfunction. For example, a surgical modality using novel cultured human corneal endothelial cells, which is the injection of cultured human corneal endothelial cells with Rho-associated protein kinase inhibitor into the anterior chamber, has now shown promise in clinical efficacy. Another aspect of our cutting-edge translational research is focused on developing a novel medical treatment for the early-phase corneal endothelial disease. To that end, Rho-associated protein kinase-inhibitor eye drops have proved effective in treating partial endothelial dysfunction.
It is our great hope that cornea-related translational research, such as that described above, will receive official governmental approval based on the accumulated data on the safety and efficacy aspects of the procedures, thus ultimately resulting in the worldwide prevention of blindness.