Cell-based therapies for ocular inflammation

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Abstract

Since the plasticity and the potential for re-programming cells has become widely accepted, there has been great interest in cell-based therapies. These are being applied to a range of diseases, not least ocular diseases, where it is assumed that there is a reduced risk of immune rejection although this may be more perceived than real. There are two broad classes of cell-based therapies: those aimed at restoring structure and function of specific tissues and cells; and those directed towards restoring immunological homeostasis by controlling the damaging effects of inflammatory disease. Stem cells of all types represent the first group and prototypically have been used with the aim of regenerating failing cells. In contrast, immune cells have been suggested as potential modulators of inflammation. However, there is functional overlap in these two applications, with some types of stem cells, such as mesenchymal stem cells, demonstrating a potent immunomodulatory effect. This review summarises recent information on cell based therapies for ocular disease, with special emphasis on ocular inflammatory disease, and explores current uses, potential and limitations.

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