What is corneal dystrophy?

Corneal dystrophy affects many breeds of dog and there are currently limited treatment options available. We believe stem cell treatment may be the answer to this…

The cornea is a vital part of the eye, it allows light to be transmitted into the eye so we can see. In dogs, given their rough and tumble nature, injury to the cornea is relatively common, ranging from a simple scratch through to an ulcer. Sometimes corneal dystrophy, an inherited condition, occurs. Fat deposits inside the tissue, leading to ulceration and loss of vision.

Dog stem cells turned into corneal cells in the laboratory.

Researching corneal injury

Treatment of corneal injury is often hampered by a shortage of cornea’s available for transplant. Our research is focussing on using stem cells to grow corneal cells to enable the vision of more dogs to be restored following corneal injury or disease.

We’re working with the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London to tackle both disease and injury of the cornea. Our aim is to use stem cells to provide a new tool which will help us not only better understand corneal diseases, but could also provide a source of cells to enable corneal transplants.

Stem cells have the ability to self-renew and to turn into other types of cells. We are researching their potential for treating corneal dystrophy, as well as other conditions affecting dogs, cats and horses.

Dr Debbie Guest
Dr Debbie Guest, Head of Stem Cell Research

Most dog breeds are affected by Corneal Dystrophy

up to 15% of dogs in some breeds can be affected

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Research lead

Dr Debbie Guest

Dr Debbie Guest

Head of Stem Cell Research

Debbie’s research aims to utilise stem cells in veterinary medicine both for therapeutic applications and as a tool to study inherited diseases.

Read Dr Debbie Guest's bio