Neurotech ECT – Intraocular Cell Culture for AMD

May 18, 2009

An intravitreal cell culture may someday cure macular degeneration.  Neurotech’s Encapsulated Cell Technology (ECT) has achieved some positive results and offers a glimmer of hope for this new technology.

ECT is an implantable device composed of living cells wrapped, or encapsulated, within a membrane.  The membrane allows the exchange of oxygen/nutrients to enter the capsule, while a protein product of the cells, diffuses out.  More specifically, oxygen and nutrients sustain the living culture.  The cells then produce a protein called CNTF (ciliary neurotrophic factor) which is a growth factor for RPE cells.

According to David Brown, M.D., preliminary results indicate an improvement in patients with geographic atrophy.  An increase in the thickness of the RPE and an improvement in visual acuity has been noted says Brown.

This unique, “in situ,” drug delivery system really is fascinating.  It has the advantages of intraocular delivery; it bypasses the blood-brain/retina-barrier and does not require repeated applications as with injections.  In theory, additional cell lines producing other therapeutic proteins may be developed too.


Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Retina Specialist




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