Katie Piper, Acid Attack Model, Gets Eyesight Back With Stem Cell Treatment
Katie Piper, who was left partially blinded in her left eye after her ex-partner threw sulphuric acid in her face, has regained some of her sight thanks to pioneering stem cell surgery.
The former model and budding TV presenter was left with severe facial burns and profound damage to her left eye after the brutal attack in 2008.
Four years later, in November 2011, the 24-year-old underwent stem cell treatment after tracking down eye specialist Dr. Sheraz Daya, who she'd seen on the TV talking about his breakthrough eye procedures.
"I couldn't help but think, 'What if he could help me?' I tracked him down at his London office and I had a consultation with him. He told me I was suitable for surgery and I was thrilled," Katie said during an interview with The Sun.
Katie's surgery was carried out at the Queen Victoria Hospital in West Sussex, where doctors used stem cell tissue from the cornea of an anonymous donor, which they grew and then stitched into Katie's damaged eye.
The surgery has destroyed all abnormal cells and the donor cells have been stimulating her healthy cells, enabling them to multiply.
Talking during her documentary, Katie: The Science of Seeing Again, Katie admitted that despite having 110 operations on her third degree burns, she never thought she’d be able to do anything about her eyesight.
"Of all my injuries, it's the damage to my left eye that has the most impact," Katie explains during her documentary. "The hardest part is not being able to see anything on one side. In crowded places, it leaves me feeling scared and vulnerable."
Eye specialist Sheraz Daya, who treated Katie, told the BBC: "We had these cells manufactured by the eye bank in east Grinstead and we transplanted them onto Katie’s eye.
"The fascinating thing about all this is while we’re taking tissue from somebody who died, in the long term, what we have found is that there’s no DNA from that individual.
"So we expect, in Katie's case, all the cells that we've transplanted to be dissolved and for them to be replaced with Katie's tissue.
Katie has already undergone a series of intensive treatments at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital as well as five three-week visits at the specialist scar treatment clinic, Centre Ster, in Lamalou-les-Bains, France.
Katie also has daily deep tissue massages, physiotherapy exercises and regular endermology and silicone treatments.
Katie reveals the results of her stem cell eye surgery in her documentary, Katie: The Science of Seeing Again, screened tonight on C4, 9pm.