Sights set on partial corneal transplants

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New procedures will attempt to replace diseased tissue only

“We don’t have any way of curing these problems,” says Nancy Joyce, a Harvard researcher who is working on saving people’s sight when their corneas deteriorate. “The only way right now is full corneal transplantation, healthy tissue and all. In our work, we’re trying to facilitate replacement of the diseased tissue only.” To do that, she’s working with colleagues who are generating new cells from old ones. Early results suggest cell transplants may be possible. “We’re probably talking somewhere between 5 and 10 years before clinical trials,” Joyce said. “We’re still in the very early stages.”