In an attempt to restore his deteriorating sight, Patrick Godfrey recently had the first cornea-limbal stem cell transplant in Ireland.
The transplant provides a new outer layer of stem cells on the cornea, allowing light to enter the eye and potentially restore vision. It was conducted by Mr William Power, Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon at the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital.
Five months on from the operation Patrick says,
‘This treatment has made a massive improvement to my sight and quality of life. I’m able to do things now I couldn’t possibly have done prior to my operation like reading the newspaper with ease, going to a football match and seeing what’s happening and I’m gradually getting back to driving a car again’.
Getting the cornea-limbal stem cells to grow in the laboratory was the first challenge and the scientific breakthroughs that led to the transplant were made by Dr Finbarr O’Sullivan and Prof Martin Clynes of the National Institute for Cellular Biotechnology (NICB) in DCU. This work was funded through a Partnership Award from the HRB in 2007.