Stem cells used to fight Macular Degeneration

November 7, 2017

The following is from Lauren Tappan:

UCSB scientists near cure for blinding eye disease.
Once thought impossible, a cure for a blinding eye disease is in the works at UC Santa Barbara.

Researchers are in a phase one clinical trial with a procedure that would improve or cure the vision for those suffering from Macular Degeneration. The blinding eye disease is the leading cause of blindness in older Americans and impacts the sight of 20 million people worldwide.

It’s a sophisticated procedure that places stem cells in the back of the eye to repair damaged areas.

Those cells would last for the patients lifetime and would be implanted in a one-time procedure.

Getting this treatment to the most people could still be years away but the work being done at UCSB is groundbreaking in the world of vision restoration.

“In five years my hope is that we’ll be ready to get this approved and out to patients to help people who currently don’t have a therapy to use,” Professor Clegg of UC Santa Barbara said.

For more info:

http://www.keyt.com/news/ucsb-scientists-near-cure-for-blinding-eye-disease/649063682

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Indian Scientists Grow Embryonic Eyes

June 25, 2017

This article by Lauren Tappan

A team of Indian scientists led by Dr. Indumathi Mariappan was able to grow complex eye-like organs in the lab by allowing the cells to organise themselves in three dimensions. The miniature eye closely resembles the developing eyes of an early-stage embryo. The eye-like structure consists of miniature forms of retina, cornea and eyelid. The results were published in the journalDevelopment.

“It took about four–six weeks for the eye-like structure to form from iPS cells. We then removed the cornea-like structure for further study,” says Dr. Mariappan from the Centre for Ocular Regeneration at the LV Prasad Eye Institute and the corresponding author of the paper.

The cornea has three layers — epithelium (outer layer), stroma (middle layer) and endothelium (inner layer). “All the three layers of the cornea were observed, indicating that the mini-cornea had developed correctly,” she says. “The cornea initially forms as a simple bubble-like structure which is very delicate to handle. It later matures to form a thick cornea-like structure over a period of 10-15 weeks.”

The corneal epithelial sheets that would be used for treating the damaged eyes were then grown in the lab using small pieces of the mini-cornea containing the epithelium and a portion of the stroma. The stem cells present in the tissue pieces proliferated and gave rise to a uniform sheet of epithelium of about 2.5 cm by 2.5 cm size.

Animal trials

The team is currently focusing on testing the usefulness of the corneal cells grown from iPS cells in restoring vision in animal models (rats). “We will soon be starting the animal experiments,” she says. Trials on human subjects will be considered if the animal experiments turn out to be safe and effective in restoring vision.

In treatment

In parallel, the researchers are also working on producing mini-retinal tissue and actively exploring iPS cell-derived retinal tissues for treating several retinal diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), retinitis pigmentosa and certain forms of congenital blindness seen in children and young adults.

Already, retinal cells grown using human embryonic stem cells and iPS cells are being tested in clincal trials in a few countries to treat retinal diseases.

For more info:
http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-sci-tech-and-agri/hyderabad-team-grows-miniature-eyes-using-stem-cells/article19097059.ece

Treatment of Macular Degeneration Using Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Retinal Pigment Epithelium in Asia

September 13, 2015

The following is from Lauren Tappan:

Highlights

  • Human embryonic-stem-cell-derived retinal pigment epithelial cells were transplanted
  • Patches of increasing pigmentations were observed after transplantation of the cells
  • Visual function stabilized or improved in all of these macular degeneration patients
  • There were no serious adverse events associated with the cells up to 1 year

Summary

Embryonic stem cells hold great promise for various diseases because of their unlimited capacity for self-renewal and ability to differentiate into any cell type in the body. However, despite over 3 decades of research, there have been no reports on the safety and potential efficacy of pluripotent stem cell progeny in Asian patients with any disease. Here, we report the safety and tolerability of subretinal transplantation of human embryonic-stem-cell (hESC)-derived retinal pigment epithelium in four Asian patients: two with dry age-related macular degeneration and two with Stargardt macular dystrophy. They were followed for 1 year. There was no evidence of adverse proliferation, tumorigenicity, ectopic tissue formation, or other serious safety issues related to the transplanted cells. Visual acuity improved 9–19 letters in three patients and remained stable (+1 letter) in one patient. The results confirmed that hESC-derived cells could serve as a potentially safe new source for regenerative medicine.

For more info:

http://www.cell.com/stem-cell-reports/abstract/S2213-6711(15)00105-8


Stem Cells Allow Nearly Blind Patients to See

April 2, 2015

In a report published in the journal Lancet, scientists led by Dr. Robert Lanza, chief scientific officer at Advanced Cell Technology, provide the first evidence that stem cells from human embryos can be a safe and effective source of therapies for two types of eye diseases—age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of vision loss in people over age 60, and Stargardt’s macular dystrophy, a rarer, inherited condition that can leave patients legally blind and only able to sense hand motions.

The trial is the only one approved by the Food and Drug Administration involving human embryonic stem cells as a treatment. (Another, the first to gain the agency’s approval, involved using human embryonic stem cells to treat spinal cord injury, but was stopped by the company.) Because the stem cells come from unrelated donors, and because they can grow into any of the body’s many cells types, experts have been concerned about their risks, including the possibility of tumors and immune rejection.

For more info:  http://time.com/3507094/stem-cells-eyesight/


Woman Receives First Stem Cell Therapy Using Her Own Skin Cells

September 13, 2014

Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Japan surgically transplanted a sheet of retinal pigment cells into the eye of a 70-year old woman with macular degeneration.

The cells are the first induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, given to a human patient. They were made by Masayo Takahashi, who grew them from the patient’s own skin cells, which were treated with four genetic factors to revert back to an embryonic-like state. Takahashi then soaked the cells with the appropriate growth factors and other compounds so they developed into retinal pigment cells.

It’s not known whether the cells will continue to grow and form abnormal tumors, or whether they will migrate to other parts of the body. But now that the first patient has received them, those questions – and more, about the effectiveness of stem cell therapy – might be answered soon.

for more info:  http://time.com/3340766/stem-cell-therapy-skin-cells/


StemCells, Inc. Announces Completion of the First of Two Cohorts in its Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration Trial

February 17, 2014

 StemCells, Inc. (Nasdaq:STEM) announced today that it has completed enrollment of the first of two planned patient cohorts in the Company’s clinical trial of its proprietary HuCNS-SC® product candidate (purified human neural stem cells) for dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This cohort consisted of eight subjects, four of whom each received 200,000 cells and four of whom each received 1,000,000 cells. The last patient in this cohort was transplanted by Dr. Ted Leng, M.D. Director of Ophthalmic Diagnostics at the Byers Eye Institute at Stanford.

“Our immediate goal for the study in the next quarter is to complete enrollment of  the second cohort. The eight patients in this stage of the trial will have better visual acuity than those in the first cohort,” said Stephen Huhn, M.D., FACS, FAAP, Vice President, CNS Clinical Research at StemCells, Inc. “

For more info:  http://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2014/02/12/609637/10068003/en/StemCells-Inc-Announces-Completion-of-the-First-of-Two-Cohorts-in-its-Dry-Age-Related-Macular-Degeneration-Trial.html


New Subretinal Stem Cell Treatment for Eye Disease

September 6, 2010

Ridgefield, CT (PRWEB) September 1, 2010
A new stem cell therapy is now available to eye patients using subretinal placement of adult stem cells. Patients with more severe eye problems may now have the opportunity to improve their sight and gain useful vision.

Dr Steven Levy is pleased to announce that The XCell-Center in Germany has begun a new treatment for eye patients using subretinal placement of adult stem cells for ophthalmic disease. Initial patients included an individual with Stargardts Disease, a type of hereditary retinopathy, and a patient with Age Related Macular Degeneration or AMD.

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/09/prweb4427444.htm