For years, researchers have been working to develop ways to use stem cell technology to help stop the progression of blindness due to aging and degenerative eye diseases.
Now, there are several projects in the works that may help those with these disorders to retain, or even recover, their sight.
First, a recent study from Korea and the U.S. published in Stem Cell Reports found that it’s safe to inject retinal cells derived from stem cells into patients with macular degeneration, or the loss of vision in the center of the visual field due to the deterioration of the retina.
The study, described as “small” and “preliminary,” only included four participants and had no control group.
However, it was only intended to determine whether the therapy would be safe to administer, not to definitively prove its effectiveness.
The researchers are nonetheless encouraged by the fact that three of the participants experienced improvement in their eyesight during the year after treatment, becoming able to read nine to 19 more letters further on average on an eye chart.
“This bodes well. But I think we need to interpret this improvement cautiously until more controlled studies are done,” said study author Robert Lanza in a statement.
Meanwhile, Dr. Igor Nasonkin of the University of Pittsburgh has been working on a similar therapy using embryonic stem cells to cultivate multi-layered retinal cells that can be implanted into the eye.
Nasonkin also cautions that he doesn’t know when his treatment will be available to the general public, and is waiting for the opportunity to test it in rodents before moving on to human trials.
For information about stem cell treatment options in Houston and Denver, contact the Longevity Centres of America today.