Russell Turnbull, a resident of Consett, County
Durham UK, was enjoying a night out in 1994 in Newcastle when a fight
broke out on the bus he was traveling. Mr. Turnbull tried to be
a good samaritan and intervene. He was instead assaulted by one
of the combatants splashing
ammonia in his right eye. The chemical damaged his cornea,
inducing Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency (LSCD).
He describes, "I
was in agony instantly, my eye was clamped shut. I went home
and my mum tried to wash out the chemical and then I went to
hospital. I was in hospital for two weeks and eventually I was
able to open the eye again."
LSCD, which affects mostly
younger patients, is a painful blinding disease that requires costly
frequent hospitalizations and clinical treatment. Recalls Mr.
Turnbull, "It was like looking through scratched Perspex. My eye
was sensitive to light, it was constantly watering. I was unable to
drive as any bright light would cause me pain."
at North East England Stem Cell Institute cured Mr. Turnbull of the
disorder using stem cells. The procedure involved extracting
stem cells from the good eye, culturing them, and then implanting
them in the damaged eye. Mr. Turnbull was among eight patients
to receive the treatment.
Dr Francisco Figueiredo, a
consultant eye surgeon, that led the project, describes, "Corneal
cloudiness has been estimated to cause blindness in eight million
people world wide each year. This new treatment will alleviate
patient suffering and remove the need for long term multiple
medications as well as returning the patient to functional and social
The treatment has slowly restored Mr.
Turbull's vision to normal. He comments, "I can't thank
the staff at the RVI (Royal Victoria Infirmary) enough. This has
transformed my life, my eye is almost as good as it was before the
accident. I'm working, I can go jet-skiing again and I also ride
horses. I have my life back thanks to the operation."
quote: This is EXACTLY what Republicans have encouraged.
quote: As a board-certified US ophthalmologist, this type of therapy in various forms has been done for years in the USA, commonly using amniotic membrane grafts.
quote: This is precisely what conservatives were saying, the benefits are being seen from adult stem cells, not embryonic.