Back to Back Issues Page
Macular Degeneration and Stargardt's Stem Cell Treatment Update
October 21, 2014

Macular Degeneration and Stargardt's Stem Cell Treatment Update

The first question that must be answered in any new treatment or clinical trial is its safety. Safety must be determined before efficacy. While stem cells hold much promise, they can also be very problematic.

Stem cell transplants raise safety concerns regarding:

1. the formation of tumors

2. the potential of immune rejection, and

3. the risk of differentiating into other unwanted cell types.

Patients in the U.S. phase 1/2 study received a transplant of between 50,000 and 150,000 hESC-derived retinal pigment epithelium cells. The stem cells were derived from human embryos through a proprietary process that does not destroy the embryo.

Advanced Cell Technology, the sponsors of the clinical trial, are able to turn the embryonic stem cells into retinal pigment epithelial cells. The transplants were performed in nine patients with Stargardt's mascular dystrophy and nine with dry age related macular degeneration.

They have been followed up for a median of 22 months. The results of these early studies were recently reported in The Lancet with some promising news:

Stem Cell Treatment for AMD and Stargardts Update

Leslie Degner, RN, BSN

Better Health for Better Vision

Back to Back Issues Page