Is Stem Cell Therapy for Macular Degeneration Close to Reality?

March 28, 2011

The discovery of human-induced pluripotent cells made stem cell therapy for AMD a possibility, and coaxing them to become retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells has been achieved.  But until now it was unclear whether the cells actually functioned in the way RPE cells should.

New research has shown that these stem cells-turned-RPE cells are, in fact, functioning as they should.  For example, they have the proper gene expression profile, ion transport functions and membrane potential that would be expected.  At the same time, there are still some glitches to work out, for example, some chromosomal damage was found and the cells died more quickly than they should have.

So, there is still more work to be done, but the prospects are exciting.

To see the recent press release from Georgetown University Medical Center, click here.

For the paper abstract, click here.

Risa Schulman, PhD
Expert, Healthy Food and Dietary Supplement Science, Marketing and Regulatory




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3 Responses to “Is Stem Cell Therapy for Macular Degeneration Close to Reality?”

  • ari

    as i have said many times, xcell does not appear to be conducting any peer-reviewed literature on their work, and i am not aware of any widely recognized ophthalmologist who has recommended them. i would strongly advise staying away. the best route is to contact world-class eye centers in the u.s. or europe that are conducting trials, which are probably free.

  • Martin Epstein

    My wife has AMD and her vision is deteriorating. There is an organization cal XCell Center in Germany that claims that they are doing successful stem cell implants using differentiated bone marrow stem cells. I suspect a bit of quackery here. Does anyone have info about them?

    If trials in the US are imminent, how can I get my wife involved?

  • Dr Ron Allen

    The stem cell developed by manipulation from skin cells are not as vibrant and are filled with genetic mutations. The gold standard for stem cells is the patented blastomere technique belonging to Advanced Cell Technology [ACTC] . This technique obtains pure embryonic stem cells derived WITHOUT DAMAGING THE EMBRYO. These cells are differentiated into RPE cells. Animal studies using subretinal injections provided amazing results.ACTC is approved for IND studies using its RPE cells to treat Stargardts macular dystrophy and DRY AMD. Approval for European trials probably to occur in months .American trials starting in 8-10 weeks. Preliminary results probably by September. Times are exciting.Disclosure–excited ACTC shareholder.

    Warm Regards,
    Ron Allen MD