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C-TRACER 1 (India)

In January 2008 work commenced at the first Champalimaud Translational Centre for Eye Research (C-TRACER). Based in the city of Hyderabad, India, the Centre was created following an historic agreement between the Champalimaud Foundation and the LV Prasad Eye Institute, one of the world’s leading proponents of translational research.

C-TRACER 1 uses cutting-edge methodologies as it strives to further the knowledge of vision in such a way that it can be readily applied to the patient. In particular, this C-TRACER utilises stem cells in the treatment of eye diseases. This work draws on the experience of the Stem Cell Biology Laboratory of the LV Prasad Eye Institute, which is currently at the forefront of work in this area and has developed a revolutionary technique of using stem cells from living adults to grow the outer part of corneas. These are then surgically implanted into the patient in one of the most cutting-edge procedures in medical science.

Directed by Prof. D. Balasubramanian, C-TRACER 1 has developed this state-of-the-art medical process and with vision already restored to over 1000 eyes, this treatment represents one of the largest successful use of adult stem cell therapy anywhere in the world.

In order to reach remote, rural populations the C-TRACER 1 team has adapted these techniques so that the process can be carried out without the need for the laboratory, thereby exporting these techniques and their benefits to remote areas. Patients can therefore be treated anywhere, without the need to travel to Hyderabad.

Work at C-TRACER has also expanded to the understanding and use of stem cell biology of use in diseases of the retina. Human embryonic stem cells and patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells have been used to generate retinal cells. Work is ongoing to translate this breakthrough into a clinical setting.