Next Step for Macular Degeneration: Human Trials

Orange stem cell

Good news from the world of retinal research: they’re ready to start human trials to reverse age-related macular degeneration using adult stem cells. This article in Nature, the international weekly journal of science, details the work of Masayo Takahashi, a Japanese ophthalmologist at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology.

The cool thing about adult stem cells is that there are no ethical issues like the ones around embryonic stem cells. Plus, when they come from the adult being treated for the disease, there are no immune issues, and no reason for the body to attack the morphed cells. So there’s a higher chance of success.

With age-related macular degeneration, the retina’s base layer slowly degrades, reducing the eye’s light-sensitive photoreceptors and often ending in blindness. Takahashi takes skin cells directly from the patient and grows a new layer that can ultimately be transplanted into the retina. She has done multiple studies to prove the stability of her research, as the science community is a little skittish about proclaiming new inroads in stem cell research since the retraction of a paper on stem cells that proved incorrect.

But it seems they must feel pretty confident as the research has earned Takahashi a Nobel Prize, and they don’t give those out freely. Trials could be starting any day now, truly good news for the many people out there with vision problems.

 


Related Posts

boy sitting at table with an iPad

Eye Conditions and Syndromes, iPad Apps and Accessibility

Successful iPad Apps for Children with CVI

A collection of successful iPad apps for kids diagnosed with CVI as recommended by a TVI and CVI specialist.

laughing woman

Eye Conditions and Syndromes

Why I laughed when my daughter lost her eye

Gwen tells funny stories about raising her daughter Ivey who has bilateral anophthalmia. Gwen says it's important for us to learn to laugh at ourselves and our lives and teach...

Ivan smiling

Eye Conditions and Syndromes

Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis (LCA) FAQ

All your questions about Leber's Congenital Amaurosis (LCA) are answered here in one place. Don't see your question? Then just send us an email and we'll get right on it!