PURPOSE: Until recently, total limbal stem cell deficiency could not be treated by autologous sources of stem cells. Our study is a review of recent progress in utilizing oral, conjunctival, mesenchymal and epidermal stem cells as autologous sources of stem cells in treating total limbal stem cell deficiency.
METHOD: We have identified 14 clinical trials including both human and animal subjects which are the basis of our review. We studied these articles with emphasis on cultivating techniques, transplantation methods, success rates, complications, visual outcomes and followup.
RESULTS: Due to the lack of a common definition of success in the individual studies, comparison between the studies is of little use. The underlying pathologies described and the subjects (animals and humans) are diverse, and in addition there is a lack of a sufficient number of studies.
CONCLUSION: Despite the large lack of comparability, we conclude that these methods show promising results deserving further investigations and refinement.