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Stem Cells International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 6978253, 11 pages
Review Article

Safety of Cultivated Limbal Epithelial Stem Cell Transplantation for Human Corneal Regeneration

1Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Ophthalmology, Visual Optics and Visual Rehabilitation, University of Antwerp, Campus Drie Eiken, T building, T4-Ophthalmology, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610 Antwerp, Belgium
2Center for Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine, Antwerp University Hospital, CCRG-Oogheelkunde, Wilrijkstraat 10, 2650 Edegem, Belgium
3Department of Ophthalmology, Brussels University Hospital, Dienst Oogheelkunde, Laarbeeklaan 101, 1090 Jette, Belgium
4Department of Ophthalmology, Antwerp University Hospital, Dienst Oogheelkunde, Wilrijkstraat 10, 2650 Edegem, Belgium

Correspondence should be addressed to N. Zakaria

Received 30 January 2017; Accepted 8 March 2017; Published 30 March 2017

Academic Editor: Monica Lamas

Copyright © 2017 J. Behaegel et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Ex vivo cultivated limbal stem cell transplantation is a promising technique for the treatment of limbal stem cell deficiency. While the results of the clinical trials have been extensively reported since the introduction of the technique in 1997, little has been reported regarding the potential health risks associated with production processes and transplantation techniques. Culture procedures require the use of animal and/or human-derived products, which carry the potential of introducing toxic or infectious agents through contamination with known or unknown additives. Protocols vary widely, and the risks depend on the local institutional methods. Good manufacturing practice and xeno-free culture protocols could reduce potential health risks but are not yet a common practice worldwide. In this review, we focus on the safety of both autologous- and allogeneic-cultivated limbal stem cell transplantation, with respect to culture processes, surgical approaches, and postoperative strategies.