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Rigshospitalet - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital
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Safety and feasibility of mesenchymal stem cell therapy in patients with aqueous deficient dry eye disease

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PURPOSE: To evaluate the safety and feasibility of injecting allogeneic adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (ASCs) into the lacrimal gland (LG) as a treatment of aqueous deficient dry eye disease (ADDE).

METHODS: In this open-label, 5-visit clinical trial (baseline, treatment and weeks 1, 4 and 16) seven subjects with ADDE received one transconjunctival injection of allogeneic ASCs into the LG in one eye. The ASC product contained 22 million ASCs/ml and the injected volume was maximally 50% of the LG volume as determined on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Treatment related adverse events (AEs) were assessed at each visit (primary endpoint). Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI), tear osmolarity, tear film breakup time (TBUT), corneal staining (Oxford grade) and Schirmer's I test were assessed at each timepoint.

RESULTS: No AEs related to the study treatment were observed. Mean follow-up time was 126 days after treatment. The mean OSDI score decreased from 58.9 ± 20.6 at baseline to 34.1 ± 21.6 (p < 0.002). In the study eye mean tear osmolarity decreased from 312.9 ± 10.4 to 291.6 ± 10.9 mosm/l (p < 0.002), mean TBUT increased from 3.7 ± 1.5 to 7.1 ± 1.9 s (p < 0.002), mean Schirmer's I test increased from 4.6 ± 0.7 to 8.1 ± 3.1 mm/5 min (p < 0.03), while mean Oxford grade showed a trend towards a decrease from 2.4 ± 0.7 to 1.3 ± 1 (p < 0.10).

CONCLUSION: Our trial suggests that injection of allogeneic ASCs into the LG is a safe and feasible treatment of severe ADDE. A randomized placebo-controlled trial aimed at elucidating the therapeutic effect of allogeneic ASCs in a larger patient cohort from our research group is currently underway.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe ocular surface
Volume19
Pages (from-to)43-52
Number of pages10
ISSN1542-0124
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

ID: 61960278