UIC gets $5M federal grant for eye-injury treatment study

October 6, 2018

CHICAGO (AP) — The University of Illinois at Chicago will receive a $5.25 million Defense Department grant over four years to lead a clinical test of using stem cells to treat eye injuries.

Dr. Ali Djalilian (jah-LIHL’-ee-un) is a professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at the UIC College of Medicine. He has been studying the use mesenchymal (mih-SEN’-kih-mul) stem cells to support healing of eye surfaces with defense department funding for five years.

Officials say thermal burns from explosions and chemical burns to the eye are among the more common injuries to service members in combat. But corneal injuries are common among civilians too.

Mesenchymal stem cells can react with fat, bone or cartilage. They produce abundant anti-inflammatory materials which speed healing and reduce scarring.

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