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MT05-017: Repair of Feline Corneal Ulcers with Mesenchymal Stem Cells

This project will investigate if mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) or adult bone marrow stem cells can be used for treatment of refractory ulcerative disease of the feline cornea. We will investigate various growth conditions to direct the MSCs into a corneal epithelial phenotype. Differentiation of the stem cells will be demonstrated by immunocytochemical techniques and PCR. We will also grow MSCs from the bone marrow of selected cat patients in fibrin gels and place the gels on ulcerated corneas under a protective contact lens. After three days, the contact lens will be removed and the eye examined for engraftment and differentiation of the fluorescently-labeled cells. The cats will then be examined on a regular basis to assess engraftment and differentiation of the MSCs and healing of the ulcer. We will continue the differentiation studies, enroll additional patients in the clinical arm of this study, and optimize methods of cell administration. We expect to demonstrate grafting of the MSCs, differentiation into corneal stromal keratinocytes, an improvement in corneal clarity and decreased recovery time. Similar or identical studies to this project are currently being performed in humans with remarkable success.

Grant ID: MT05-017

Status: Active

Year Funded: 2005

Amount awarded: $8,672

Investigator: P. Richard Vulliet, David Maggs; University of California-Davis