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


Retina Created From Human Embryonic Stem Cells

May 28, 2010

UC Irvine scientists have created an eight-layer, early stage retina from human embryonic stem cells, the first three-dimensional tissue structure to be made from stem cells.

It also marks the first step toward the development of transplant-ready retinas to treat eye disorders such as retinitis pigmentosa and macular degeneration that affect millions.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/190124.php


Stem Cells Restore Sight in Mouse Model of Retinitis Pigmentosa

March 1, 2010

An international research team led by Columbia University Medical Center successfully used mouse embryonic stem cells to replace diseased retinal cells and restore sight in a mouse model of retinitis pigmentosa. This strategy could potentially become a new treatment for retinitis pigmentosa, a leading cause of blindness that affects approximately one in 3,000 to 4,000 people, or 1.5 million people worldwide.

“This research is promising because we successfully turned stem cells into retinal cells, and these retinal cells restored vision in a mouse model of retinitis pigmentosa,” said Stephen Tsang, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of ophthalmology, pathology and cell biology, Columbia University Medical Center, and lead author of the paper. “The transplanted cells not only looked like retinal cells, but they functioned like them, too.”

In Dr. Tsang’s study, sight was restored in one-fourth of the mice that received the stem cells. However, complications of benign tumors and retinal detachments were seen in some of the mice, so Dr. Tsang and colleagues will optimize techniques to decrease the incidence of these complications in human embryonic stem cells before testing in human patients can begin.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100224132737.htm