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Carole Burillon, Laure Huot, Virginie Justin, Serge Nataf, François Chapuis, Evelyne Decullier, Odile Damour; Cultured Autologous Oral Mucosal Epithelial Cell Sheet (CAOMECS) Transplantation for the Treatment of Corneal Limbal Epithelial Stem Cell Deficiency. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(3):1325-1331. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.11-7744.
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Total bilateral corneal limbal epithelial stem cell deficiency (LSCD) cannot be treated with the surgical transplantation of autologous limbus or cultured autologous limbal epithelium. Transplantation of allogenic limbal epithelium is possible but requires immunosuppressive treatments. Cultured autologous oral mucosal epithelial cell sheet (CAOMECS) is a transparent, resistant, viable, and rapidly bioadhesive cell sheet, cultured with the UpCell-Insert technology (CellSeed, Inc., Tokyo, Japan), which allows for grafting onto the patient's corneal stroma without suturing. It has therefore been proposed as an alternative treatment for LSCD.
The objectives were to assess the safety and efficacy of CAOMECS, using a prospective Gehan's design. Safety was measured in terms of ocular adverse events during the study period, and efficacy was measured using a composite criterion based on epithelial defect, punctate epithelial keratopathy, conjunctival epithelium on the cornea, number of vascular pediculi, and vessel activity.
CAOMECS was found to be safe and effective. In total, 26 eyes of 25 patients received a graft. Two patients experienced serious adverse events classified as not product related. Twenty-five patients were included in the efficacy analysis, as one patient was lost to follow-up. The treatment was found to be effective in 16 of 25 patients at 360 days after grafting. Of the 23 patients who completed follow-up at 360 days, 22 had no ulcers, and 19 showed a decrease in the severity of the punctate epithelial keratopathy.
CAOMECS is a well-tolerated and safe tissue-engineered product. These results suggest its efficacy for reconstructing the ocular surface in patients with total bilateral corneal LSCD.
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