Stem Cell Trials To Begin For Stargardt’s Treatment

Advanced Cell Technology Inc. (ACT) announced Thursday the enrollment of the patients in the trials for Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy (SMD) and Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration (Dry AMD). The patients were enrolled at the Jules Stein Eye Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles.

ACT won approval by the US Food and Drug Administration in January to use human embryonic stem cells for treating macular degeneration, a common cause of vision loss. That followed FDA approval in November for scientists to test the stem cells to treat people with Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy. The new trials will test the safety and tolerability of retinal pigment epithelial, or RPE cells, which ACT makes from the human embryonic stem cells.

Animal studies have reportedly shown that injecting fresh RPE cells into the eye could bring about a substantial improvement in eyesight. In other studies, scientists said mice with eye disease recovered near-normal vision after receiving the therapy.

In addition to the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA, the Casey Eye Institute (CEI) at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland, OR, is also open for enrollment of patients with SMD.

As additional sites are ready to enroll patients with SMD and dry AMD, they will be listed on the Clinical Trials page on ACT’s Web site and at


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